Nutrition-wise blog

Want your kids to eat right? Then walk the talk

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. August 2, 2014

August is "Kids Eat Right Month," a new initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This campaign spotlights healthy nutrition and active lifestyle choices for children and families.

Everyone has a role in helping to ensure a healthy future for our children. Here are a few suggestions you can try:

  • Shop smart. Start with a plan — yours — and your kids'. While you make your grocery list, let your kids shout out their favorite (healthy) foods in the basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Then take the next step. Which foods combine into breakfasts? What about lunches? How about dinners? Ask your kids — their ideas for meals will surprise and energize you.
  • Cook healthy. During the hot days of August, you might not want to turn on the oven. That's cool. You can use kitchen gadgets to prepare meals instead. A rice cooker will cook multiple servings of rice or quinoa. A microwave is an easy way to prepare potatoes and vegetables. Dig out the slow cooker to prepare lean meats or chicken.
  • Eat right. Involve kids in dishing up a MyPlate meal — one that includes ALL the food groups. Tired of struggling to get your toddler to come to the table? Try a picnic. You can then also combine the picnic with play (and you both will burn off extra calories and stress). Research shows that eating together as a family promotes healthier eating — and builds good relationships.

As a grandparent of three children all under the age of four, I'm going to try a few things. I'm going to display a few basic healthy foods on my countertop according to food groups. Then I'll ask my grandkids to pick one (or two) foods from each group. Then we can figure out how to make them into a simple meal. Maybe we'll have a picnic. I'll let you know how it goes.

Post your ideas about what you'll do in August to help kids eat right.

Aug. 02, 2014