Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? We know how hard you try to ensure that your children eat well and how challenging that can be. During the month of March, we will be addressing healthy eating habits with your children through stories and activities. By making them more aware of how important it is to eat nutritiously and providing you with these kids’ nutrition tips, we hope to make your life easier.
Make Healthy Foods Available to Your Child
To prevent your child from making wrong choices, stock your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry with these foods:
Purchase your child’s favorite type of fruit, wash it, cut it up, and store it in a clear container in your refrigerator so your child can easily access it when looking for a quick snack.
Likewise, wash and chop up fresh veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and snow peas for salads or for your child to eat out of a small container.
Keep hummus on hand and mix veggies like carrots, or celery, into it.
Plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt – mix fresh fruit and a bit of honey for a sweet treat.
Keep whole grain crackers containing 2 grams of fiber stocked for quick treats.
Unsweetened applesauce can be eaten alone or mixed into yogurt or cottage cheese.
Switch out regular potatoes for sweet potatoes so your child gets more Vitamin A.
Buy whole-grain breakfast cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber.
Peanut butter or other nut butters add protein to celery, crackers, or bananas.
Include light tuna or salmon in sandwiches and salads for an additional source of protein and Omega-3’s (salmon)
Cooked boneless chicken breasts can be added to pasta, salads, and stir fry.
90% lean, ground beef can be a source of protein and eaten with pasta or beans and cheese in casseroles.
Keep 2% low-fat cheese blocks and strings to add more calcium to your child’s diet.
Use tortillas instead of bread for a fun way to eat sandwiches.
Veggie burgers present another source of protein from soy.
Dilute 100% fruit juice with water or seltzer to reduce the sugar content.
Kids’ Nutrition Tips and Tricks
Implementing the following behaviors will facilitate better eating habits in your child:
Be an example and eat healthy snacks like a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar.
If your child wants a candy bar, dip a strawberry into some chocolate sauce.
Don’t nag your child about eating unhealthy foods. Praise him when he makes healthy eating choices.
Eat dinner as a family as research shows that kids who eat dinner as a family at the table have better nutrition.
Turn of the TV while eating so your child isn’t tempted to eat sugary foods advertised on television.
Dish out the portions in the kitchen and bring to the dining table rather than allow your child to get his own servings.
Serve small portions so your child can ask for more if he wants more.
Serve a variety of brightly-colored foods. A platter of mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli, and chicken will look appealing to eat.
Serve main meals and snacks at the same time every day. Children do better when they know what to expect.
For something different, serve healthy breakfast foods for dinner. Scrambled eggs; oatmeal; or high-fiber, low-sugar cereals can add variety.
Serve juice or milk with the main meals and water throughout the day so your young child doesn’t fill up too much during the day.
Connect healthy foods to things your child likes to do such as sports, games, and excelling in school. “Eating your green beans will help strengthen your body so you do well at baseball.”
To encourage your child to try new foods, talk about the food’s color, shape, smell, and texture, rather than its taste.
Give your child some choice in what he eats. Determine what his favorite foods are and serve more of these while gradually introducing him to new foods.
We hope you find these kids’ nutrition tips and tricks helpful in getting your child to eat healthy. Do you have a nutrition tip, favorite, healthy food or recipe to share? Leave a comment and let us know.
Chappell Schools of Jacksonville, Florida has been providing child care and preschool learning programs for 55+ years. Our educational programs address the TOTAL child – cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. We pride ourselves on being voted one of the “Top 50 For-Profit Child Care Organizations in North America.” Visit one of our eight centers to see how we make learning fun by contacting us at 904.739.1279. To get more child care tips, please “Like” our Facebook page.