Nutrition for Everyone: Quick Tips -- Healthy Children, Healthy Choices
Parents are in charge!
As a parent, your responsibility is to buy healthy groceries and serve nutritious food to your growing children. Start by establishing a routine, even if it is difficult at first. This means a set time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Once you have a routine for meals and snacks, meal times are more relaxed. Most children are happier on a schedule and become hungry at regular times. You'll feel happier about your parenting job when the family has a routine.
- So, be consistent! Children need a meal routine just like they need a bedtime routine. Plan for three meals and two snacks each day! Serve a vegetable or fruit at every meal. Fruits and vegetables are great for snacking too.
- Instead of rewarding your child with food, reward them with attention (hugs, kisses, and smiles) and playful activities.
Money-Saving Ideas For Better Health
- Avoid arguments about high-fat, high-sugar foods by not bringing them into the house. Leave the candy, soft drinks, chips, and cookies at the store.
- Serve water when your child is thirsty. Water is cheap and healthy.
Portion Size for Young Children 2–6 Years Old
Serve child-sized portions, and let your child ask for more. Here are some examples of child-sized portions:
- 1/3 to ½ cup of frozen veggies
- 1 or 2 little cooked broccoli spears
- ½ cup of tomato sauce
- 5 to 7 cooked baby carrots
- 1/3 to ½ cup of melon
- 5 to 7 strawberries
- ½ cup of apple sauce
- 1 small tangerine
- 1/3 to ½ cup of frozen or fresh berries
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) low-fat yogurt or nonfat milk
- 1/3 to ½ cup of macaroni-and-cheese, rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes
- 2oz. hamburger
- ¼ cup ground meat such as turkey or pork, browned and drained
- 1 or 2 drumsticks
- Tired of hearing your children beg for sugary, high-fat foods? They may be influenced by too many commercials.
- Limit the amount of time your children watch TV to less than 2 hours a day. Remove the TV from your child's room.
- Find fun activities to do inside and outside your home: play hopscotch, jump rope, walk the dog, play hide-and-seek, or build an obstacle course in the hall.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention content is free and public domain.
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