A healthy breakfast is usually sacrificed on an hectic morning. Here are 3 quick and healthy meals for kids.
Back to school means back to packing lunches, but this year, it doesn't have to be the same old, same old. Just a few small changes can reap big nutritional benefits. So, let's start with the all-American PB & J, white bread, grape jelly, and peanut butter a classic. Swap in jam made from whole fruit to cut down on sugar and add fiber. Try a less-processed nut butter of her choice made of almonds, cashews, or even decadent hazelnuts. And if allergies are a concern, use soy butter. Then, go for a hearty whole-grain bread with 5 to 6 grams of fiber. Now, that may be a tough sell at first. So start with 2 grams of fiber and work up as you get buy in. You know, you can actually feel the nutrient density. The heavier the loaf of bread, the higher the fiber. And here's another sandwich makeover. Change up the standard bologna and cheese. Substitute low-sodium turkey and high-quality cheese instead of the processed stuff. Swap out the mayo for mustard, or even try this, silken tofu. To drink, tap water, or have your child buy low-fat milk in the lunch line. Replace the chips with sliced apples and carrots, and you're good to go.
It's not easy getting everyone to the dinner table at the same time, but more research shows that family meals can help kids do better in school and avoid risky behaviors and prevent obesity and eating disorders. The key according to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health is frequency, the more the better. So how can your busy family get into a routine? Here are a few ideas. Don't stress about cooking something fancy. Let the meal be the easy part. Make double batches of turkey chili on the weekend or pick up a rotisserie chicken and make a salad, even breakfast or dinner. Invite your kids to help plan the menu and maybe even shop or help you make the grocery list. Get everyone onboard. Talk to your partner about making dinner time a priority and commit to a schedule even if it's just a couple of times a week to start and put it on your calendars. And finally turn off tech and talk to each other. The whole point of family dinner is to be together. So put away the screens please and check out familydinnerproject.org for some fun conversation starters for your table.
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Healthy eating is the foundation of a healthy life. Here is how you can raise nutrition-smart kids.
Like most households, every family member has a different palate. In fact, some pediatricians say food battles top the list of parental headaches. If you find yourself wrangling with your child over mealtime, here are a few strategies to help. Number 1: Be patient. Kids' tastes change over time. Just because he's rejecting tomatoes today doesn't mean he'll never eat them. Keep trying to reintroduce foods. Kids between the ages of 2 and 6 can be the most finicky according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eventually, they'll move beyond this stage. Second: Institute the one polite bite rule. She has to take a little taste of food she says she doesn't like, and hopefully they'll grow on her. Also, be a role model. Doctors say fights over food often occur because kids want what mom or dad is having. So if they see you eating well, they'll follow your lead. And finally, empower your kids. Get them involved and invested in meals. Take them shopping. Let them plan a menu with you. Choose words that describe the sensory qualities of food like, "These strawberries are juicy," or "Isn't that corn sweet and crunchy?" The power of positive thinking may change your picky ears' mind.
-You don't have to be a nutritionist to figure out the best foods to buy for your family. With a little know-how, you can find the healthiest buys and steer clear of junk at the supermarket. First off, look for the word sugar on the label. So-called healthy foods contain much more sugar than you might think. Take yogurt for example. Dieticians say you should be shooting for a product that has less than 10 grams of sugar in one serving and many of them have much more plus lots of artificial sweeteners and colorings. Double check the label before you buy. Or those oatmeal packets that seem to be a good choice. Well, many of them have actually more than 9 grams of sugar in a single small serving. Instead, make your own unsweetened oats and dress them up with slight bananas, brown sugar, blueberries, or pure maple syrup. And when buying breakfast cereals, look for whole grains listed as the first ingredient on the box. Finally, an easy rule of thumb, if you can't pronounce what's on the label, you probably don't wanna eat it. Look for labels that list the fewest and most recognizable ingredients and you'll be on your way to better eating.
If you have a child with a food allergy, you know it's hard to find good tasting safe snacks and to ensure your child steers clear of foods that can trigger reactions. Now that kids are back in class and routines, here are a few strategies to consider from 0the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once you find a product you really like, reread the label each time you buy it. Ingredients could change. If you don't recognize an ingredient on the label, call the manufacturer and ask what it is. Be careful about cross-contact from preparing snacks at home. Allergens can spread from a cutting board or knife. Make sure to properly wash mixing spoons, measuring cups, and heating surfaces. And finally, always pack and carry safe foods from home and make sure your school enforces a 'no-sharing' policy at snack and lunchtime. Here's to a healthy start to the school year.