August: Kids Eat Right Month
Planning meals ahead of time can improve health while saving time and money. Getting children involved in planning and cooking meals can have benefits for the whole family, too. August is Kids Eat Right Month, a nutrition education, information-sharing and action campaign created by the Kids Eat Right program, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation. Kids Eat Right Month spotlights healthy nutrition and active lifestyles for children and families, offering tips to help families cook healthy, eat right, and be active.
Tips to cook healthy, eat right, and be active:
Get kids involved in the kitchen – When kids help out in the kitchen they learn cooking skills, important food safety practices, and better nutrition. They also have the potential to further develop math, reading, science, and fine motor skills. At the same time, kids are having fun and increasing quality time together with family. Involve children in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. Kids love control and creativity. Any way they can be included in meal planning or preparing will increase the likelihood of a successful dinner.
Kid-friendly kitchen tasks. Children ages 3 to 5 can use cookie cutters, rinse produce, clear tabletops, mix simple ingredients, and use pieces of fruit to craft fun shapes. Six-to 7-year-olds can crack eggs in a bowl, de-seed peppers and tomatoes, stir and prepare instant pudding, and prepare lettuce for a salad. Eight-to 9-year-olds can rinse and clean vegetables, use a can opener, beat eggs, measure and mix dry ingredients, and use a food thermometer. Ten-to 12-year-olds can boil pasta and vegetables, simmer ingredients on the stovetop, follow a simple step-by-step recipe, slice and chop vegetables, and bake and microwave foods.
Don’t forget food safety basics – Clean all countertops and kitchen surfaces prior to cooking. Remember to pull back long hair. Never taste food until it is done cooking. When children are assisting with meal preparation, make sure there is always adult supervision. Always use clean utensils. Wash hands in warm, soapy water before and after handling food.
Eat right and be active for healthy children – Factors that can affect childhood nutrition include number of meals eaten away from home, portion sizes, types of beverages consumed (especially those high in added sugars), and meal patterns and frequency. It’s important to pay attention not only to nutrition, but also physical activity levels. Encourage kids to participate in physical activities that are fun, age -appropriate, and provide variety. Current recommendations state kids should get 60-plus minutes of activity daily.
Learn more about how to cook healthy, eat right, and be active at
www.eatright.org/resources/for-kids. For more food, nutrition and health information from Nebraska Extension go to www.food.unl.edu.
Kid Friendly Recipe Ideas!
SERVING UP SALSA
4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon vinegar or lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic and
1 teaspoon salt, optional
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. For better flavor, let the ingredients stand in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with veggies, tortilla chips, quesadillas, or on a salad or baked potato. Makes 14 servings. Source: food.unl.edu/servingupsalsa
BERRY FUNNY FACE
Blueberries and raspberries*
Low-fat cream cheese
of a whole-wheat mini bagel
Spread cream cheese on bagel. Decorate with berries for eyes and mouth and a grape for the nose! *Cut berries and grape in half to reduce choking hazard for young children.
- Source: food.unl.edu/fnh/berryfun
YUMMY ROASTED BROCCOLI AND RED PEPPERS
5 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 large bunch)
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 clove garlic minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add broccoli, pepper, oil, lemon pepper and garlic to a self-sealing plastic bag; shake until ingredients are combined (or mix together in a bowl). Spread the mixture out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
Cook’s notes: Feel free to use a combination of other vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, etc.
Source: food.unl.edu/roasted-vegetables By Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension
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