Healthy Eating Habits for Your Child

Count on Calcium

You probably know calcium builds strong bones. But now experts believe it may actually help prevent obesity as well, when served instead of nutritionally useless beverages like soda and fruit drinks. Make it your family's first choice at mealtime. Substituting flavored milk, such as chocolate or strawberry, adds just 60 calories per serving. Nuts, soy milk and dark leafy green vegetables can also be used to boost calcium intake. Other ways to add calcium to your child's diet include serving calcium-fortified juice, adding powdered milk to recipes and putting cheese on vegetables or adding it as a dipping sauce. Yogurt is a good calcium source. It also helps suppress the growth of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, and can help restore normal intestinal flora.

Parents and Kids -- a Good Team

As parents, we offer nutritious foods, and our children decide which and how much of those healthful foods to eat in the form of meals and snacks that fuel them all day long. Kids will copy what they see and become motivated by observing '- you!

In the grocery store, have your child identify the food groups as you pass down the aisles '- particularly the produce aisle. Some foods that are high in sugar can still be eaten, but in moderation. Keep mealtime fun and never battle over food. Choice is the key.

Picky-Eater Pointers

Tips for keeping a step ahead of any picky eater:

  • Offer choices when possible, but make them healthy.
  • Be creative and think of making food and mealtime fun.
  • Make food attractive by using color and various shapes. (See Happy Face Salad.)
  • Work healthy foods into your child's diet by trying new combinations such as pumpkin custard, carrot-apple juice or grated carrots in gelatin.

 

When cooking:

  • Use applesauce as an alternative to oil in baking recipes.
  • Add dry, powdered milk to recipes to increase calcium.
  • Choose vegetables darker in color '- they're usually richer in nutrients.
  • Grate vegetables into spaghetti sauces or lasagna.
  • Use vegetables as pizza toppings.
  • Put shredded or chopped vegetables, such as spinach, in dishes.
  • Grill or bake foods, instead of frying.
  • Look for "whole wheat" and "whole grain" on labels.
  • Choose whole grains such as whole wheat, buckwheat and whole oat flour as well as oat bran, wheat bran or quinoa.
  • Take your child shopping and get her involved in "healthy" choosing.

 

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