Celebrating Kids Eat Right Month with Healthy Tips for a New School Year
By Steve Griffin, Pediatrician, and Mary Tvedt, Registered Dietitian, Holy Rosary Healthcare
As we move toward the new school year, our Holy Rosary Healthcare’s providers and nutrition professionals wanted to highlight the importance of children eating a healthy diet and having an active lifestyle by sharing a few fun tips for families to get the school year started right:
Make it a colorful season with dark and deep colored fruits and vegetables. Paint a colorful breakfast by adding fruit to oatmeal and breakfast cereals or adding diced red and yellow peppers, purple onion, green spinach, mushrooms, avocado to omelets, scrambled eggs, and breakfast sandwiches. Stuff a whole wheat pita with low fat cream cheese and strawberries or apple slices with a dash of cinnamon. Lunch can explode in colors with fruit and vegetable kabobs, made with pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe chunks, orange segments, for fruit and cucumbers, zucchini, bell pepper, olives, cherry tomatoes, and low-fat cheese cubes for a “veggie-bob.” Encourage your child to pick out a new fruit or vegetable or a “color” of the day. He or she will be more likely to try new flavors!
Have fun with fruit and vegetables. Cucumber caterpillar and ants on a log are some tried and true ideas for increasing vegetables every day. Try other fun and creative ideas too. Make a banana dog, spreading peanut or nut butter on a whole-grain hot dog bun, place a peeled banana inside the bun and eat it like a hot dog. Try apple nachos, arranging apple slices on a plate, drizzled with 1/4 cup natural nut butter, warmed, and top with small amount of mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, slivered almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Eat the fruit not the juice. Instead of juice, offer water to drink and the fruit on the side. Juices pull lots of the good nutritional parts of the fruit out and leave us just with the sugary juice. It's always better to eat the whole fruit instead and have the water to drink.
Set the best example for those around you to learn. Food should be a source of joy we can appreciate every day. When our families see the healthy foods served “center stage,” they will do it when they plan their own meals in the future.
If your efforts do not immediately entice your child, be patient. Simply continue to make whole grains, fruits, and veggies a part of every meal and snack and offer them in a variety of ways. Eventually your child will develop his or her own taste for nutrient dense food choices.