12 Ways to Improve Your Child's Health and Cure MCD

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As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Following A Healthier Wei is both the prevention and the cure for the "Milk and Cookie Disease" (MCD), but it isn’t the answer to every health problem. There are children who drink milk every night before bed and never have any symptoms; my suggestions have no relevance for them. However, when the issue is MCD, there are 12 ways to cure it and improve your child’s health: 

  1. Teach your kids not to eat too much after dinner, to resist bedtime snacks, and to drink only water in the evenings. This will decrease acid reflux and indigestion, which often leads to nasal congestion, nighttime cough, restless sleep, and runny noses. 

  2. Cut down on dairy and sugar as much as you can. We all indulge at times. My family enjoys late night snacks on some occasions, but our routine on most nights typically involves closing the kitchen at least 1 to 1.5 hours before my daughter's bedtime, and 1.5 to 2 hours before our bedtime. 

  3. Plan more stay-at-home meals. When we eat out, we tend to eat too much, later than usual, and we consume WAY MORE calories! The joy of eating out tends to exaggerate our inner voice that tells us it’s okay to indulge in choices that are higher in calories, fried or fatty foods, or sugary drinks like soda, lemonade, sweet tea, or other sugary non-water beverages! Then we are tempted and often order desserts despite being so full! 

  4. Plan ahead for food shopping, meal preparation, and healthier snacking. Watching what goes into your child’s mouth requires effort ahead of time, but the trade-off is how much easier evening meals and eating on-the-go will be. 

  5. Allow yourself one day a week to splurge and treat your kids. Be sure everyone understands this is the exception, not the rule, so switching to eating healthy food at the right time isn’t something you have to renegotiate with your family. 
     
  6. Make healthier choices when you do have to opt for fast food—pick a grilled chicken sandwich, not fried, or order water even though the meal comes with a “drink.”  
     
  7. Serve water instead of sodas, juices or milk at dinner time. 
     
  8. Avoid dessert-like beverages including lattes, milkshakes, frappucinos, blended drinks, and/or smoothies made mainly from ice cream. 
     
  9. Dine out but set some boundaries: try sharing entrees and desserts—you’ll be surprised at how full two people can be with one typical American-size serving. 
     
  10. Change the timing for certain things—serve milk at lunchtime instead of dinner. 
     
  11. Read food labels and pay special attention to servings per container, number of grams of sugar and think about the teaspoon equivalent (every 4 grams = 1 added teaspoon). See if you know most of the ingredients listed on the package! 
     
  12. Your children are observing you as a model; even if they are unwilling to make changes and choose healthier food right away, be consistent and uphold the standard for yourself—it can make a difference! 

Remember that MCD mimics having a viral illness or cold, asthma, or allergies but medications won’t make MCD better! Only eliminating excessive dairy and sugar will. When going to the doctor doesn’t get rid of chronic upper airway/nasal symptoms, cough, etckeep MCD in mind. Your child could be dealing with the consequences of an unhealthy diet combined with late eating habits. 

Life is unpredictable and we must be flexible. Being health conscious does not mean you must be rigid and have a power struggle with your children when it comes to food and drink choices. It does require awareness, meaningful discussions, and proactive effort to make better choices ourselves and help our children develop the habit of making better choices for themselves. 

Diet Dietary Habits MCD

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