CSP Spotlight: National Nutrition Month Tips for Parents to Help Kids Eat Healthy

National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. All month we will share some helpful tips for parents to implement with their whole family. This week, we will share a few Food, Nutrition, and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  1. Eat Breakfast. Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, salsa and a whole-wheat tortilla or a parfait with low-fat plain yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal.
  2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.
  3. Watch Portion Sizes. Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size. Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. To complete the meal, add a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.
  4. Be Active. Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don't have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.
  5. Get to Know Food Labels. Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you shop and eat or drink smarter.
  6. Fix Healthy Snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein. Try raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese, or a tablespoon of peanut butter with an apple or banana.
  7. Drink More Water. Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are active, are an older adult or live or work in hot conditions.
  8. Reduce Added Sugars. Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition. Review ingredients on the food label to help identify sources of added sugar. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.
  9. Slow Down at Mealtime. Instead of eating on the run, try sitting down and focusing on the food you're about to eat. Dedicating time to enjoy the taste and textures of foods can have a positive effect on your food intake.
  10. Enact Family Meal Time. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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