6 March 2015 11:00 am
Compiled by Shabnam Farook
Promoting a balanced meal for children
Here are some simple strategies you can use to help the whole family promote servings from all the food groups.
- Cut lean meats into small portions before placing them on the table so they are more inviting to a child’s small mouth.
- Avoid sodas, sugary drinks and fruit juices during meals. But if they insist on some juice, one six-ounce glass a day of 100% fruit juice is plenty.
- Include one healthy carb from the grains food group. For example, serve just whole wheat bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead of pasta and bread.
- Provide a good variety of food from each of the food groups and encourage your child to take one scoop from each of the food groups.
Planning steps to promoting more fruits and vegetables
With just a few steps you can set your child and family up for a positive experience as you begin to improve their eating habits.
- Start by talking with the kids about fruits and vegetables and why they are important for everyone in the family.
- Have a few positive conversations about health during mealtime.
- Have the kids list some of the fruits and vegetables they like to eat.
- Create your shopping list by food groups so that children can easily see the fruits and vegetables on the list.
- Have the kids help pick out the fruits and vegetables at the grocery list.
Your Perfect Plate
What makes a perfect plate? The right mix of nutritious food in not-too large portions. Shrink your plate- Big plates can encourage children (or anyone else) to overeat. Start with smaller plates to make it easy to stick with sensible portions. Pile on the veggies- Start building the perfect plate by filling at least one- quarter with veggies Don’t forget dairy - Hate milk? No problem. As long as a food contains calcium (like calcium fortified soy milk it counts. You can also choose low fat, or fat –free versions of milk, cheese or yoghurt. Eat the rainbow - Go beyond green! Eating a variety of fruits and veggies helps you get the nutrients you need. Downsize the meat- Aim to fill only one-quarter of your plate with meat, fish or another protein. Switch proteins - Protein doesn’t have to come from meat. Beans, seafood, soy products like tofu, peas, nuts and seeds are also high in this essential nutrient.
Eat Healthy as a Family
Research shows eating meals as a family boosts kids’ grades, leads to healthier eating habits and (believe it or not) helps relieve parental stress. Try one of these 20 easy meals to enjoy together.
Healthy mealtime tips for the whole family
- Set a regular time for family meals.
- Turn the TV off during mealtimes.
- Try to keep family meals fun. Include children in the meal preparation and in the decision about what food will be offered for dinner. Children feel important if they contribute to family meals.
- Be a good role model by having proper table manners.
- Eat at the table since it is easier to talk with each other, rather than in front of the TV
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