Developing Healthy Eating Habits for the Entire Family
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**Due to a technical error, the original broadcast of the accompanying radio show for this post did not air. Please tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for WCTE's Get Ready To Learn radio show on the HUB 107.7 FM & 1400 AM**
We cannot stress enough how important it is to feed your family a healthy, balanced diet. This is most important for kids as they are growing and developing. There are essential vitamins, minerals and other important building blocks of health that they need to thrive.
Here are a few of the important vitamins and minerals that your kids should be getting each day:
Calcium - Helps with creating strong, healthy bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium include dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese), green leafy vegetables and some fish.
Vitamin C - Supports kids’ immune systems and is also needed to form collagen, which is essential for the development of healthy bones, gums and blood vessels. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (lemons, limes and grapefruit), strawberries and broccoli.
B vitamins - Helps the body convert the food we eat into energy and provide the support kids need to stay active. Good sources of B vitamins include whole grains, poultry and eggs.
Iodine - A mineral required for normal brain development, concentration and learning ability, making it crucial to support young learners. Good sources of iodine include seafood and fortified bread.
Zinc - Necessary for normal growth and development in infants and supports healthy immune function in kids. Good sources of zinc include seafood, meat and beans.
If you encourage your kids to eat healthy now, they will be more likely to develop healthy habits that will carry on with them into adulthood.
One way to encourage healthy eating is to provide them with all sorts of colorful foods so they can “eat the rainbow.” By incorporating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your child’s plate, they can try new things and get more nutritional value out of each meal.
Another way to encourage healthy eating is by letting kids take part in the food prep process. On our Get Ready To Learn radio show, host Cindy Putman spoke with Drucilla Ray from the UT Ag Extension Office about healthy snacks and meals that kids can help prepare.
Ray teaches kids about nutrition and healthy eating habits at school. She stresses that breakfast is most important meal of the day and shared a great recipe for a healthy breakfast smoothie.
Using powdered milk (Ray suggests this because it’s easy to keep on hand and doesn’t spoil like regular milk) and small cups of yogurt (Ray suggests freezing them so you don’t have to use ice), you can make a great smoothie simply by adding frozen fruit.
So you don’t have a blender? Put these ingredients in a zippered bag and let your kids squeeze them up to make a slushie.
Ray also shared several variations on a good afternoon snack for kids using canned biscuits. One option is to flatten them out, add pizza sauce and cheese for a great mini pizza. Another way to fix this snack is to add chopped apples, cinnamon and a little butter for a mock apple pie. Pair with cheddar cheese for a great snack!
There’s a new program coming in October called Faithful Families, where nutrition coaches go into different churches and teach them about nutrition and exercise. Ray shared how she has partnered with Stevens Street family resource center so that when people come to get food and clothing, she is able to share with them ways to stretch their grocery dollars and cook from scratch.
One more great tip she shared is when cutting fruit, be sure to wash your knife each time you make a cut so that you aren’t putting bacteria from the rind into the fruit.
Want more resources for kids? Check out the app Fizzy’s Lunch Lab from PBS Kids. Created with kids ages 6-8 in mind, the app combines video narratives with interactive challenges and covers math topics such as deductive reasoning, mapping, sorting and classifying.
Funded by a Ready-to-Learn Grant from the US Department of Education, Lunch Lab has a great website you can visit to learn more - pbskids.org/lunchlab.
Finally, the best way to encourage your kids to eat more healthy foods is to set a great example for them. As parents, what you model for your kids can have a huge impact. We hope you’ll consider this as you try to develop healthy eating habits for yourself and your family!
Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.