March is National Nutrition Month! I know, you're thinking this article is all about how to get kids to eat their vegetables...and adults too, for that matter! ;) Good nutrition isn't just about eating more broccoli. It means eating a well-balanced diet and ensuring we get all the nutrients that help us to be healthy and happy.
And that's surprisingly easier than you think! Read on to learn some simple tips for eating healthy every day.
Can I still indulge in my favorite cookies or snacks?
The good news is...yes, you can! Eating a balanced diet simply means that, as the term implies, it's "balanced!" You can have an occasional snack--it just can't be the staple of your diet!
Whew, now that we know we don't have to give up everything, maybe this won't be so bad after all!
Food can even be fun. Check out our previous blog "Should we play with our food?" for tips on how to prepare and serve healthy foods. Getting kids engaged in preparing meals and talking about the food as you're working helps kids learn about what they eat and can even spark some culinary inspiration! Who knew a simple tomato could actually become a ladybug?!
How do I know what a "balanced diet" looks like?
Ah, now that's the trick! Fortunately, there are many resources available to help us determine how to fill our plates. The chart at the right shows some guidelines about what types of foods to eat each day. Ensuring we choose the right mix from these groups will help us feel good and maintain a healthy body!
Many of us recall the old "food pyramid" that could be a little confusing for selecting the right foods. The USDA has developed the new MyPlate that will help you find solutions to eating healthy. Visit their website at ChooseMyPlate for more information.
How do I get kids to understand the importance of eating healthy?
Does that picture look familiar? How many times have we all tried to feed our kids healthy foods only to be met with "yuk!" Healthy food doesn't have to be boring. Use a little creativity to present food in fun shapes or try different eating methods (kids love finger foods!) to get them more engaged. Even something as simply as serving food on a special plate can get a child more interested in eating (try their favorite superhero or princess!). For more ideas, read about some solutions for Picky Eaters.
Try games or learning activities that teach children about foods and nutrition. Check out Nourish Interactive or ChooseMyPlate for some great ideas for teachers!
We also have many classes on good nutrition at SafeGard Classes Online:
- Causes of Childhood Obesity (FREE class!)
- Feeding Children: Infant/Toddler
- General Nutrition
- Special Dietary Needs
- Good Nutrition for Children
See, eating healthy isn't so mysterious and boring. Next time you prepare a meal, just have fun, enjoy your food and be balanced!
Life always gives you a second chance...it's called "tomorrow!"