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Great Resources for Healthy Eating for Kids

More than 80% of children in developed nations do not get enough exercise or eat balance meals. This can affect their concentration, learning ability, and lead to obesity and a lifetime of health problems such as diabetes. Even when food can be afforded getting children to eat healthy is often a task. Kids love sweets, sugary snacks, soda, and fast food. Sodas are labeled as light, diet, zero, and free. Regular consumption of sugar and soda can lead to obesity and have a detrimental health effect. Getting them to eat healthy balanced meals can be difficult. Starting children in the early years with a variety of wholesome food is easier but the time for eating healthy is never too late.

Parents need to read food labels and understand the information provided and teach their children to do the same. The Nutrition Facts label has amount of calories and percentage of a day’s worth of nutrients per serving. Ingredients on the label of prepared foods lists the ingredients in the product in order by volume beginning with the predominant ingredient first.

Important label factors include:

  • Serving size: A serving size is often not the container size. This is the first piece of information you need to compute any other nutritional measurement of the food. Measuring food and then placing it on a plate or in a bowl instead of out of the container can help get the goal amounts.
  • Percent Daily Value: This is the percentage portion of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient per serving. Again this is based on the first bit of information you need which is the amount of a serving of the food.
  • Nutrients: These are protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals in a single serving.

Food labeling is regulated in the US by the United States government, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The guidelines for labeling terms include: .

LIGHT – Must contain one third less calories or half the fat of the traditional version of the same product. The salt content must be 50% less.

REDUCED – Must have 25% less of a nutrient than the original version of the product.
This product might be of no nutritional benefit whatsoever.

LOW FAT – The product must have three grams or less of fat per serving.
This product might have zero nutritional benefit.

FREE – The amount of an ingredient or nutrient is so small to have an insignificant affect on you. FAT FREE, CALORIE FREE, SUGAR FREE, etc This product might have zero nutritional benefit.

GOOD SOURCE - The amount of a nutrient is 10% to 19% of the set daily value for that nutrient.

HIGH – An amount found in the product that is 20% or more of the set daily value for that nutrient.

Processed food products have an enormous amount of ingredients to decipher. Then there are new terms born every day as food producers develop new ingredients and eating habits change. Health food labels are often also confusing and harmful. Many partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated vegetable oils have toxic effects that cause obesity and other serious health issues. These include sodium nitrate, sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial colorings. A food label can state organic by having only one natural ingredient even if it contains over a dozen artificial ingredients.

Eight Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

Learn
Find out what you need to know to prepare healthy meals and maintain healthy habits.

  • Learn what the proper diet is for each family member based on their age and needs.
  • Learn how to read food labels and make wise choices.
  • Instead of processed foods eat natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean meats.
  • Cut down on white foods such as sugar, bread, pasta, and flour.
  • Minimize your intake of saturated and trans fats.
  • Drink more water and fewer sugar drinks.  
  • Eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Learn and practice portion control by using smaller plates, avoiding second helpings, and measuring food portions.

Commit to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Choose to take actions daily that support a healthy lifestyle. Make it a priority in food choices and activities. Keep healthy foods available in your home.

Be a Great Role Model
Children are imitators. As a parent you can influence your kids’ health by making the right choices for yourself too.

Eat Together
Eating as a family will help your kids develop healthy eating habits rather than snacking

Eat Breakfast
Breakfast is an important nutritional start to the day. Make quick and easy healthy foods available such as whole grain bagels, fruit, and yogurt.  

Avoid Fast Food
Pack healthy snacks and lunches instead.

Develop Healthy Food Attitudes
Let your kids decide how much to eat. They will know when they are full.
Do not associate food with behavior either as a reward, love, or punishment.

Exercise Daily
Plan 30 to 60 minutes of activity each day

AllKids healthy eating directory:
http://www.allkids.co.uk/kids-healthy-eating/index.html

Cool Food Planet: Healthy eating educational games and facts for kids.
http://www.coolfoodplanet.org/gb/kidz/

Co op Food Store is a pool of community organizations that gather resources that can be used to help move schools towards healthier eating. The resources are divided into three main areas:

  • For Parents: information on healthy snacks, shopping guide, nutrition advice, and guidance for providing children with healthy food
  • For Teachers: curriculum ideas, nutrition information, and food and nutrition classes.
  • For Food Service: training and supportive resources, wholesale and retail sources of whole foods

http://www.coopfoodstore.com/content/welcome-co-ops-kids

Dole Superkids for healthy eating:
http://www.dole.com/#/superkids/Kids/K_Index.jsp

FoodInsight: The International Food Information Council Foundation provides food safety, nutrition, and healthful eating information. They provide information to consumers, health and nutrition professionals, educators, government officials, and food, beverage, and agricultural industry professionals around the world. They promote food safety, nutrition, and health issues and share education materials with Food Information Organizations and partners from around the world. http://www.foodinsight.org/

Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC) is led by registered licensed dietitians and offers solutions onsite through workshops, presentations and events.
http://www.healthykidschallenge.com/

KidsHealth provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years for kids and parents.
http://kidshealth.org/

Nourish Interactive is a web based company that supports parents and educators with innovative solutions that empower children to make healthy choices by providing useful information on nutrition and exercise.
http://www.nourishinteractive.com/hco/free_printables#vocab_words

Nutrition.gov provides nutritional and physical activity information for consumers. Specialized nutrition information for infants, children, teens, on healthy eating, dietary supplements, fitness and how to keep food safe.
http://www.nutrition.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=11&tax_level=1&tax_subject=382

Parenting Informed: How you can make healthy eating for kids fun with many resources on nutrition for kids. Additional resources for breast feeding, baby foods, and handling eating disorders. http://www.parentinginformed.com/listings/nutrition-for-kids

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food pyramid: http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/
Menus and recipes for cooking with kids:
http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=14&tax_level=2&tax_subject=230&topic_id=1189

 

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