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  Helping Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

How can you help children make healthful choices? Children have a variety of likes and dislikes and concerns when it comes to food. Kids are usually more interested in french fries, soda and ice cream than fresh vegetables, fruits and milk. It is common for children to refuse certain foods, such as spinach,or to demand their favorites, like hotdogs and pizza. You must be positive and offer a variety of choices, while balancing and moderating foods.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It breaks our "fast" after a night's sleep and gives us energy and nutrients we need to start our day. Unfortunately typical diets include eggs, bacon, sausage, butter, cream, doughnuts, coffee cakes and cookies at the breakfast table. These items are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. But wait, the alternatives are tasty, healthy and plenty more nutritious. Here are some suggestions that may interest your palate:

* Try whole wheat toast with low-fat cottage cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly. Top with sliced strawberries and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.
* Save left-over brown rice in individual freezer containers. Cover with water and reheat in the microwave. Mix in raisins or chopped fresh fruit. Add skim milk and serve as cereal.
* Try scrambling the whites of eggs only - you will get the protein without the cholesterol.
* Sweeten oatmeal, oat bran, or other whole grain cereals with fresh fruit or raisins instead of honey or sugar

Packing a kid's lunchbox with nutritious, appealing foods is not easy. Kid's tend to trade that shiny apple at lunch time for a piece of a classmates frosted cake. Nutrition and food habits start when kids are young and can remain with kids throughout their lives. So teach them good ones now!

At dinner time kids can help in the kitchen by setting the table, preparing menu items, washing and cutting up fruits and vegetables etc. Dinners should include lean cuts of red meats (no more than 2 times a week) lean poultry and fish (avoid high fat sauces); fresh vegetables, grains, rice, beans, pasta (avoid high fat cheeses and butter and salt); skim milk or fruit juice and lowfat desserts or fresh fruits for after dinner.

Don't put a salt shaker on the table. You do not need it. Most foods contain enough salt without adding any more. A teaspoon of salt has 2000 milligrams of sodium.That almost exceeds what you need in a day (2300 mgs). Instead of salt, flavor foods with garlic, onion, herbs and spices, vinegar, fruit and vegetable juices (tomato juice can be high in salt) and low-salt soup broth.

Family style meals tend to provide more nutrients and better balance and variety than meals eaten alone. Kids should be eating at least 3 meals per week with family members. Children tend to grab high fat, high sodium snack foods or prepared foods (microwave meals, canned meals, etc) when eating alone.

Reference Source 7,50

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