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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

The Benefits of Cooking with Children

Inviting your preschooler to help you cook provides numerous learning opportunities. You can spend quality time with her while increasing her skills in the kitchen.

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Cooking involves careful planning and time management. Learning how to plan and manage her time will benefit your child as she grows.

While your child learns how to prepare food safely, teach her about the dangers in the kitchen. Point out these dangers, and talk to her about how to avoid accidents.

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Helping out in the kitchen can increase your child’s creativity and help her develop math and reading skills. When you follow the instructions on a recipe together, she can practice reading. Measuring ingredients is a great way to introduce her to the importance of learning math. Letting your child choose ingredients will enhance her creativity and encourage her to voice her opinions.

Pita Nachos

Need to make an after-school snack? Pita nachos make for a quick, satisfying treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • Salsa
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Split pita into two rounds, then cut into wedges. Lay the wedges on a cookie sheet, then broil in an oven for a few minutes until golden. Sprinkle wedges with cheese and salsa, then broil again until cheese melts.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

Nutritious and Fun Breakfast: Banana in a Blanket

Perfect for breakfast or shared as a snack, this delicious, hearty little recipe is sure to please!

Ingredients

  • 1 six-inch whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter or cream cheese
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon granola

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Lay the tortilla on a plate and spread the entire surface evenly with the nut or seed butter or cream cheese.

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Peel the banana and place on one edge of the tortilla.

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Sprinkle with granola.

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Drizzle maple syrup or honey on top.

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Roll the tortilla to wrap the banana in the “blanket.”

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Slice in half, serve and enjoy!

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Build a “Snowman”: a Recipe for Fun!

Whether you live in the snowy northeast or sunny southwest, you and your child can build (and eat!) your own yummy snowman! Click here to watch the video tutorial!

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Ingredients (for one snowman):

  • 3 Thick slices of banana
  • 1 Pretzel stick (broken in half)
  • 1 Apple wedge
  • Several mini chocolate chips or small raisins

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On a plate, line up the banana pieces to build the body of your snowman.

 

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Add the apple wedge for a hat.

 

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Add one half of the pretzel stick to each side of the second banana slice for arms.

 

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Place the mini chocolate chips or raisins for eyes, a nose and buttons!

 

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Get creative with other pieces of fruits and veggies and decorate your snowman with a scarf, mittens and even boots!

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities.  Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

Five Benefits of Family Meal Time

While it can twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0be challenging to find the time to eat meals as a family, it is important to try to make time for this oft-ignored tradition. Here are five benefits of eating meals together as a family.

  1. It gives you quality time together. Due to everybody’s different schedule, it can be difficult to spend time together  as a family. A regular meal time gives families a chance to regroup, talk and enjoy each other’s company.
  2. It helps reinforce good manners. Having a meal as a family is an excellent opportunity to practice good manners. The more you eat together, the more opportunities your children have to practice good manners.
  3. It promotes healthy eating. When you have meals together at home, you can easily control what your children are served. twenty20_9e57ce90-74c3-44d0-9f76-12c914a5e392Thus, you can add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the menu.  
  4. It helps expand children’s palates. Instead of serving rice, substitute quinoa. Or serve mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. If you’re serving chicken, add a side of tikka masala sauce for dipping. Having family meals together means more opportunities for trying and hopefully enjoying different foods.
  5. It helps save money. Many families will visit the local pizza shop or a fast food restaurant to save time, but the costs of doing so can add up quickly. It is much more cost effective to prepare and serve a meal at home than to go out to eat. Your family can put the money you save toward something else, such as a vacation or weekend outing.

Mealtime Makeover!

Sometimes, putting together a tasty and nutritious meal for our families can be difficult. Here are some tips for making dinnertime with our energetic little ones easier. twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0

  1. Gather your children at the table and ask them to draw simple items that you will rate from 1 to 10. Give high numbers to boost their self-confidence. They will enjoy this game before dinner, and you will appreciate the calmness of your lively preschoolers.
  2. Explain what you are cooking and let them participate. Children may be more excited to eat the food if they help prepare it. Some age-appropriate tasks might include washing veggies, measuring ingredients and setting the table.
  3. For a fun activity, have them create artwork to be laminated and used as placemats for the table. Your little ones will enjoy sitting down to eat more when they see their own pictures included in the table setting.
  4. To encourage children to eat new foods, talk to them about the different shapes and colors of the food while they are eating it. This is a great way to converse with your children. For them, dinner may seem more like a game than a meal.

What are some other ways to encourage your little ones to eat at dinnertime?

Fishing for Crackers

Fishing for CrackersSpruce up snack time with this easy, healthy and fun snack!

Ingredients:

  • Carrot sticks
  • A bowl of hummus or veggie dip
  • Goldfish crackers

Dunk the carrots into the hummus or dip. Then put some goldfish crackers on a plate and use the carrot stick to “catch” the crackers.

Sufficient Hydration is Necessary for a Healthy Lifestyle

20120920_goddard_TN_0207Most of us are concerned that our children have good eating habits to ensure proper growth; however, not many of us put as much thought into the amount of water our little ones consume. What is the proper amount of water for children?

Water is not a one size fits all commodity. The amount of water children need depends on their age, weight and gender. Although there is not an exact number, we all could use a little more H2O to keep us on the go.

Here are some tips to increase your child’s water consumption.

  • The most efficient and effective way to boost your child’s water intake is to always have it available. Whether she is at home, at school or playing outdoors, make sure your child is always within reach of water.
  • Encourage your child to drink water by simply placing it in front of her without any alternative options. If she does not have soda or other sugary beverages around her, she will be more likely to drink the water without a fuss.
  • Increase your child’s consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain large volumes of water, such as strawberries, oranges, watermelon and cucumbers.
  • Be a good example; increase your water intake as well. This will not only keep you on track with how much water you consume, but watching you drink water will ensure that your child will want to drink it too.

Staying hydrated helps children focus better in school, brightens their mood and improves their performance in day to day activities.

Grab a glass of water for you and your little one, and start increasing your intake today.

Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

How Dr. Jack Maypole Encourages Healthy Eating

It can be challenging to get children to eat vegetables. Pediatrician Dr. Jack Maypole, member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers five tips on how to encourage healthy eating.

  1. Offer one new food with two well-established foods. For Hand with Heart Breadexample, if you know your daughter likes pasta, serve that as usual and add a portion of a new vegetable to her plate.
  2. Establish a rule that children have to at least try one bite or taste of a new vegetable. Research shows that most children will take to a food after up to about a dozen tastings (for some super picky or rigid eaters, such as those on the autism spectrum for example, it may be many more times).
  3. Set children up for success by discouraging snacking or tanking up on beverages before mealtime.
  4. Keep mealtimes positive by involving children in food prep and getting enthusiastic in the craft and presentation of food. This may cultivate interest and curiosity in the food, which can lead to the development of a more adventurous palate.
  5. Never force feed or go to war about making your child eat. Everyone loses. If you are concerned that your child may have issues with food, such as allergies or sensitivities to texture, contact your child’s primary care provider.

For more information, check out this article in which Dr. Maypole provides additional nutrition advice.