Encouraging children to eat right is good for everyone in the family, so help kids make healthy choices by keeping wholesome snacks at eye-level and within reach. Put sugary treats out of sight and up high. Let the kids help out when you cook and spend time planting a vegetable garden together, or just a few pots with seeds.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that we eat more whole-grain foods every day, choose a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the week, and make dairy and meat choices low-fat and lean. Eating light and lean and exercising every day is the basis for a long and healthy life – what a great gift to give to our children (and ourselves)!
Note that some foods such as hot dogs, peanut butter, corn-on-the-cob, popcorn, raw carrots, celery, apples, grapes, etc., can be too difficult for very young children to chew and swallow without choking. These foods should be either mashed, cooked, cut in very small pieces, or eliminated altogether as snacks for little ones. Be conscious of any food sensitivities or allergies and enjoy your meals together.
Breads and Grains – Make half of your daily grains whole-grains (look for the word, “whole” in the list of ingredients) and choose low-fat, low-sodium.
- whole-grain breads or carrot/banana/pumpkin breads
- cereals, oatmeal, granola, grits
- corn tortillas, corn bread, popcorn (older kids only)
- brown rice, rice cakes
- bagels, muffins, pita, crackers
- waffles, pancakes, French toast
- pasta with olive oil or tomato sauce
Vegetables – Choose a variety of fresh or frozen, cooked or raw. Focus on green and orange veggies. Note that some raw vegetables and fruits can be a choking hazard for younger children.
- celery sticks, baby carrots, green beans, cucumbers, sweet peppers
- greens (collard, mustard, spinach, etc.)
- baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash
- corn on the cob, artichokes, peas
- vegetable soups
- salads with vinegar or yogurt
- vegetable juices
Reprinted with the permission of BANANAS, Inc. © 2007 BANANAS
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