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What’s to Eat: Healthy foods for hungry children

Off to a Good Start…The Breakfast Bonus

Breakfast provides energy to carry a child through an active morning. Children who skip breakfast may not concentrate well at school or may lack energy to play. Not everyone enjoys traditional breakfast foods, such as cereal and toast. These breakfast ideas are a little different:

  • Breakfast shake: combine skim or 1% milk, fruit and ice in a blender.
  • Frozen banana: dip a banana in yogurt, and then roll it in crushed cereal. Freeze.
  • Peanut butter spread on crackers, a tortilla, apple slices or jicama slices.

Cereal with milk is the number-one breakfast favorite. Check the Nutrition Facts label—found on most packaged foods—for the amount of iron, fiber, and other nutrients. If your child prefers a sweet taste, you might jazz up unsweetened cereal with sliced peaches or bananas, strawberries, or blueberries.

Lunches Worth Munchin’

Children who help make their own lunches are more likely to eat them. Include these brown bag perks to make lunches fun!

  • Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches in fun, interesting shapes.
  • Decorate lunch bags with colorful stickers.
  • Put a new twist on a sandwich favorite. Top peanut butter with raisins, bananas, or apple slices.
  • For color and crunch, use a variety of veggies as “sandwich toppers”: cucumber slices, sprouts, grated carrots or zucchini.

Brown bag food safety

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When there’s no refrigerator to store a bag lunch, keep food safe by:

  • Adding a box of frozen fruit juice.
  • Tucking an ice- or freezer-pack into the lunch bag. Or use an insulated container to keep hot foods hot.
  • Freezing the sandwich breading and filling—or other freezable foods—the night before.

You may also help prevent food-borne illness by encouraging your child to wash their hands thoroughly before meals.

The meal Dilemma…Dealing with picky eaters

Some youngsters are naturally finicky eaters. Others eat only certain foods—or refuse food—as a way to assert themselves. If your child refuses on food from a group, try offering a substitute from the same food group on the Food Guide Pyramid.

  • Try adding grated zucchini and carrots into quick breads, muffins, meatloaf, lasagna and soups.
  • Try serving the food again if it was refused. It may just take many tries before a child likes it.
  • Let children help with the food preparation. Children will be more likely to eat it because they helped make it.
  • Make the food more appealing; cut foods into interesting shapes or create smiley faces with the food.
  • Be sure to set a good example by eating well yourself and eat meals as a family.

Hungry and in a hurry? Food for fast times

When it comes to food, families want convenience. It’s no surprise that fast food restaurants are so popular. However, some fast foods supply a lot of fat and calories. Some helpful tips to get the most from these foods are to split orders between other family members, balance high-fat choices with low-fat choices (ex. Hamburger and a salad), or other lower-fat choices.

Microwave magic—safely!

A microwave oven can help you cook in a healthful way. Vegetables cooked in a microwave oven stay nutrient-rich because the nutrients aren’t being dissolved in the cooking water and are cooked in shorter time. You can even cook meats, fish, and poultry the same manner, all while saving you time! With this being said, burns are the most common microwave injury, so make sure you and your child uses pot holders, keep the oven out of young children’s reach, and show them how to open containers safely so that steam can escape away safely and not burn them.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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