The Top 5 things Parents can do to help their kids Eat Right!

Welcome to summer– also known as the month of August or Kids Eat Right Month!

Being a mom, (and a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist) making sure that my little angel eats healthy is always a top priority for me.

I know the foods that she eats will help her grow, develop and have the best options for a healthy life today and tomorrow.

I like to make things simple, so here’s my list of the Top 5 things parents can do to help their kids eat healthy this school year.

1) Stock the Snacks:

Let’s face it.. .Kids are snackers!  Make sure that you have some “go to items” available snacks available at all times so that healthy  snacks are always handy.  For example, having cut up fruits and vegetables available anytime will help them have something to snack on all day long.  Concerned about having the fruits spoil before you eat them?  Frozen fruits for smoothies are great to have on hand, as well as dried fruits for older kids is a great alternative.  Other healthy snack ideas to have on hand?  Whole grain pretzels, hummus, whole grain tortilla chips, peanut butter and nuts.

2) Best Beverages:

Healthy beverage choices are key to keeping your kids healthy as well.  Best bets?  Water and low fat diary products, or unsweetened soy or almond milk.  Why do I love the dairy and non dairy choices?  Great sources of calcium,  Vitamin A and Vitamin D for healthy bodies to grow.  Most folks know that calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth, but did you know that you need calcium for muscles to work properly as well?  If your kids are as active as my daughter, they are going to need that calcium!

3) Go Whole:  100% whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, brown rice and crackers are great source of B Vitamins and will help them maintain healthy blood sugar levels all day long!  How to use them??  How about a pasta salad, a PBJ wrap with a 100% whole grain tortilla made with peanut butter and jelly, or 100% whole grain crackers and low fat cheese?

4) Power up with Protein:  Sources of lean protein include lean beef, turkey, chicken, fish, low fat cheese, and vegetarian sources such as soy protein or quinoa.  Never tried quinoa??  It is amazing!  One of my fav quinoa dishes???  Breakfast quinoa in the crockpot!  Try putting quinoa, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, some cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla extract in the crockpot on low and wake up to wonderful!

5) HAVE FUN!  This is the MOST important step!  If you make healthy eating fun (and leave the healthy part out for the kids) they will be more apt to join in!  Get out the cookie cutters for bread, make a healthy face out of whole grain waffles, blueberries, and strawberries and low fat vanilla yogurt, and most imporantly… Let your kids help!  If they are part of the process, you get a much better chance for buy in!  Bring them to the store or farmer’s market and let them pick something out to make, have them try a new fruit or vegetable, and let them make something age appropriate with your guidance.

Being a good role model is the BEST thing you can do…

Here’s to healthy, and happy eating as a family!!