Although tossing healthy ingredients into a blender can make a fabulous go-to breakfast, there are common mistakes folks make that can sabotage their morning shake. Read more
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Enlisting kids to help out in the kitchen can have numerous benefits beyond an extra pair of little hands assisting us:
- Cooking teaches children useful skills, including cooperation, coordination, math (fractions and more) and problem-solving.
- Cooking is a bonding experience for parents and kids.
- Cooking an array of things, including fruits and vegetables, helps children develop a healthy relationship with the foods they eat, which is associated with better health and eating habits as they become teens and adults.
As every parent knows, the season of running from school to countless extracurricular activities is upon us. How best to get everyone fed along the way? Avoid the temptations of the drive-through by having one of these nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals instead.
Asian Chicken Quinoa Salad (above)
Shredded rotisserie chicken paired with protein-rich quinoa will help soothe tired muscles after a long day. Kid-friendly vegetables, including carrots and sugar snap peas, are also in the mix, which gets a delectable sesame-soy dressing. Read more
Earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration announced revised recommendations for children, suggesting two to three servings of low-mercury fish a week. But it can take some enticing to get the younger set excited about digging into seafood. Here are five recipes that are sure to lure — and might even entice a few seafood-phobic grown-ups too.
Shrimp: Shrimp Stir Fry (above)
Kids love this high-protein crustacean – and stir-frying shrimp with a colorful mix of vegetables offers a quick way to turn them into an eye-catching dinner. If you’re confused about whether to choose wild or farm-raised shrimp, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide for shrimp.
It’s the time of year when kids head back to the classroom — and parents head back to the kitchen for another year of lunchbox anxiety. But there’s no need for packable meals to inspire stress. Here are simple lunches worth a spot in any brown bag, plus some time-saving packaged add-ins that parents can actually feel good about. Read more
Pre-packaged lunch kits sure seem convenient, but the quality of the food is subpar at best. Popular options include crackers and processed meats and cheeses, coupled with sugary drinks and cookies. The calorie counts vary from 300 to 450 per serving, with 8 to 20 grams and fat, plus 30 to 40 percent of an adult’s sodium needs for the entire day. What’s even more disturbing is the staggeringly long list of ingredients, usually chock-full of preservatives.
Bento-style containers make homemade lunch kits a breeze. Compartments keep food fresh and allow little fingers to snatch up and assemble their favorites. Most set-ups retail for $15 to $25 each at Pottery Barn Kids and Laptop Lunches. Resealable plastic bags and small plastic containers can also get the job done.
Here are 5 fresh lunch combos that keep the menu fun and healthy.
- Thick-sliced roasted turkey, cheese cubes, edamame and yogurt-dipped pretzels (above)
- Greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola and carrot sticks
- Grilled chicken, tortilla chips, black bean salsa and broccoli florets
- Mini PB &J, whole wheat pretzels and grapes
- Pasta salad, green beans and apple
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »
Although it’s easy to give into kids’ pleas for the same old not-so-healthy foods, parents and caregivers should provide a variety of dishes that will help kids grow and develop. Happily, summer offers a great opportunity to break away from the same old chicken nugget and mac-and-cheese routine. The season’s bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables make for deliciously healthy dishes kids will love. Here’s a sampling.
If you’re looking to up your kids’ veggie intake, read this! A new study found that serving vegetables alongside dip leads to munching on more veggies. Interestingly, kids were also found to prefer dips flavored with herbs and spices over plain, more bland dips.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that adding herbs or spices to a reduced-fat dip increased a child’s willingness to eat veggies. The portion-controlled 3 ½ tablespoon dips served to the kids had 50 calories, 4 grams of fat and 90 milligrams of sodium.
Pre-school children ages 3 to 5 years told researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University that they liked veggies when paired with a favorite flavored dip compared to eating a veggie without a dip or with a plain dip. Thirty-one percent of kids liked a veggie alone while 64% liked a veggie when it was served with their favorite dip. In addition, 6% of kids refused the vegetable when served with a flavored dip as compared with 18% who refused the veggie when served without any dip.
During a second experiment, researchers found that kids ate significantly more of a previously rejected or disliked veggie when it was offered with a favorite reduced-fat herb dip compared to when it was offered alone.
Team gatherings are a great way to build team morale and make sure everyone gets a good meal the night before a competition. There’s no need for parents to over-think the menu. Provide plenty of fluids (water, 100% fruit juice and milk), some fresh veggies and pasta.
Some parents feel the need to shy away from carbs but this is exactly what athletes need prior to exercise. Pasta dinners are also easy and cost-effective. Add some protein from meatballs, turkey meatballs, chicken breast or chicken sausage, plus a big salad with vinaigrette dressing and voila — all your nutritional bases are covered.
When the weather permits, cook up a team barbecue complete with turkey burgers, veggie burgers, plus pasta and potato salads. Remember to make accommodations for anyone on the team who’s vegetarian or has food allergies.
Don’t forget dessert! A large fruit salad or watermelon wedges and some small baked treats will please the whole crowd. Cookies, brownies or cupcakes decked out with team colors are always popular.
A team brunch might also be a good idea before the team hits the road for a trip. In this case opt for bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter, smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, frozen waffles and scrambled egg wraps. All will provide healthy fuel that is easy to grab and go. Don’t forget the fluid here either. Water, 100% fruit juice and if it’s a hot day, sports drinks to take on the bus ride.
Ever wonder how moms like The First Lady, celebrity chefs and renowned nutrition experts speak to their children about healthy eating? Find out how four amazing women talk to their kids about food, weight and body image.
Q. How you talk to your daughters about a healthy weight and how do you recommend parents talk their kids about healthy weight?
Michelle Obama: I don’t talk about weight at all. I talk about healthy choices. When I talk about exercise I don’t talk about exercise in terms of you have to look good. Exercise is about competition; it’s about learning a new sport; it’s about being introduced to something interesting; it’s about learning about how to compete and why competition is important. We talk in those terms.
When we talk at the dinner table we talk about eating a balanced meal, not because of how you look but because of what your body needs.
Now that [the girls] are getting older they’re starting to conversations [about weight] in their community, so it’s not coming from us, it’s coming from the outside. But I always shift them back to health and tell them the best way to never have to worry about what you look like is just to get good food in your body.
It’s all about balance. It’s not about never having birthday cake, or going out to lunch and not having a burger. I don’t even want them to think about that. I don’t want them to obsess about food. I just want them to live their lives.
So if they’re doing a sport, if they stay active, if they’re eating vegetables most meals and not overeating, if we treat foods as treats — so the weekend I’ll tell them you can have one breakfast that’s a splurge breakfast, just once a week — because you just don’t need to have pancakes and sweet rolls — at the White House, you walk in and it’s like pancakes and a sweet roll and a biscuit — (laughter.) it’s like, who’s idea was this?