We at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers are always on the look-out for information about good nutrition, and this national observance is just what the doctor ordered! It gives us another opportunity to help families make the best nutrition choices for their children.
Research has shown that a variety of “food traps” cause families to go off the rails with their diets. Those food traps are:
- Vacations and holidays
- When pressed for time
- Snack time
You can keep your children’s diet on track by avoiding these food traps or working around them. For example, on vacations plan ahead for your meals, split large portions, bring healthy snacks, and keep children active between meals.
Be ready for occasions when you are pressed for time. Keep dinner times simple; assemble meals with healthy ingredients you have on hand for serving sandwiches, raw vegetables, simple soups, milk and fruit. Be sure to keep a window of time open for your child to get exercise through playing outdoors or playing along with an exercise video.
Avoid the snack time trap. Children tend to snack when they are unwinding after a period of activity or after school. They also turn to snacks when they are bored. Offer healthy snacks like raw vegetables and fruit, popcorn, or whole grain crackers. Encourage them to draw, take a walk with you, do a chore they like, or other activities to distract them from too much snacking.
We’re happy to pass along these tasty but healthy snack ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
- Parfait: Layer vanilla or plain low-fat yogurt with fruit and dried cereal.
- Smoothie: Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for 30 seconds for a delicious smoothie.
- Quesadilla: Sprinkle shredded cheese over a corn or whole wheat tortilla. Fold it in half and microwave for 20 seconds. Top with salsa.
- Ants on a Log: Spread celery sticks with smooth nut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins.