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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

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!

banana-snowman

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

what-you-need

 

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

 

banana-slices

 

Add the apple wedge for a hat.

 

apple-hat

 

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

 

pretzel-arms

 

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

 

raisin-eyes

 

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.

Superhero Green Smoothie

In a hurry? This sweet green juice has lots of vitamins and makes a good pre-practice dinner or a great breakfast. Use a blender or juicer to combine the ingredients into a quick, healthy meal.

Smoothie

  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or ½ an unpeeled lemon if you are using a juicer)

If your children have a strong aversion to anything green, you can use more strawberries or raspberries or add some blueberries.

Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas

Spruce up snack time with these fast, easy, healthy and delicious snack ideas!

Lil’ Dippers

Ingredients:

  • An apple
  • Any kind of nut butter
  • Crushed peanuts or sliced almonds

Cut the apple into wedges. Then stick a toothpick in each piece, dip in nut butter and sprinkle with peanuts or almonds.


Top O’ the Graham

Ingredients:

  • Non-fat yogurt (any flavor)
  • Graham crackers
  • Banana slices
  • Dried cranberries

Spread a spoonful of yogurt on a graham cracker. Top with banana slices and dried cranberries.


Fishing for Crackers

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.

Promoting Healthy Eating for Your Child

Guest Post
by Patricia Lutner

Obesity in children and adults is at an all-time high in our country. Obesity rates in children have doubled over the past 30 years. Children and adults are experiencing more physical and psychological conditions due to obesity. Poor academic performance, behavior issues and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression can be related to being overweight.

Healthy-EatingYou can do a variety of things to encourage your children to adopt a healthy lifestyle. First, set a good example. What a child sees you doing they will do. What they see you eating, they will eat. Therefore, the choices you make about food and exercise help establish your children’s habits.

Preparing meals together is a good way to get children involved and to start the conversation about foods and healthy food choices. Cooking helps develop math, fine motor, hygiene and listening skills. It also helps strength the parent-child connection. Eating healthy meals together can encourage positive conversations, strengthen family bonds and provide examples of positive eating habits and good table manners for your children.

During a trip to the grocery store with your child, discuss different fruits and vegetables, their colors, their smells and their textures. Encourage your child to take a chance with you and try something new!
Don’t make children clean their plates. Children will usually stop eating when they have had enough. By forcing children to clean their plates, parents may encourage overeating. Portion size is the key here. For children who are picky eaters, you can offer new foods in small amounts. It may take multiple attempts to convince the child to taste the food. Don’t give up. Try cutting foods into various shapes that appeal to the child, or add ketchup, yogurt or mustard for dipping.

Offer children snacks, but make sure they don’t have too many and the snacks are healthy. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers are some good options.
Offer children water, milk (of any type your doctor recommends) and 100% juice. Children should not have soda or beverages with caffeine.

We should also not forget the value of exercise. Keep moving, burn off those calories, strengthen your muscles and have fun! There are many simple ways to be active as a family. Take a walk together, dance to fun music, play tag or have a race in the backyard. All of these are free and easy to do.
The benefits of establishing a healthy, active lifestyle for you and your child will last a lifetime.
For information on the food groups, the food plate, serving sizes for children of different ages and many other helpful tips, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.