Did you know that this week is National School Lunch Week? Well now you do.
Thank me for being the Nutrition Representative for my son’s school. I will be keeping you in the know on important things such as this throughout the year.
The theme this year is School Lunch Across the USA. It focuses on and highlights all of the regional flavors served throughout school cafeterias across America.
Kinda cool if you ask me. Most kids are not only picky eaters, but so sheltered in their understanding of the various foods and traditions outside of their own little circle.
This week at my son’s school, the kids will learn about foods served in schools outside of the Northeast; Chicago style hot dogs, Black-eyed peas, Texas Chili and California Rolls.
School lunch isn’t what it used to be. I know we have briefly discussed this topic before, but it is worth mentioning again.
According to the School Nutrition Association (SNA), today’s school cafeterias are:
- Offering students fruits and vegetables every day.
- Limiting calories, fat and sodium to age-appropriate levels
- Increasing offerings of whole grains
- Introducing locally-grown ingredients, chef-inspired recipes and lunchroom lessons about healthy eating.
To learn more about the National School Lunch Program and School Nutrition Association, click here.
Since it is Three Tip Tuesday around these parts, I thought today would be the perfect time to have a guest post from Cassie, a blogger from Optimal Health 4 Kids.
She has some creative tips on getting kids (and adults as well) to eat their fruits on a regular basis. Thanks Cassie!
Fruiting Your Way to Their Heart
Healthy eating and happy children is what most parents are striving to achieve on a daily basis. Kids nutrition and healthy habits has become a focal point and National Movement supported by First Lady, Michelle Obama. More and more, television shows and the media are picking up the importance of this topic and running with it.
Schools are offering healthier menus and exercise is no longer limited to moving the mouse across the desk.
Finally, we are coming to the conclusion that good eating habits we learn as children are great habits we keep falling back on once we’ve grown into adults. Life is easier if you aren’t fighting nasty old habits to get into shape.
So it starts here with us, the parents, teaching our children the right habits right now, habits they can rely on for the rest of their lives.
Television advertisers know just how to get your child’s attention with enticing commercials for those sugary, colorful cereals that have things you can collect and play with.
Are they healthy? You decide. When you read the ingredient list on the packaging the items appear in the order of their rank in the product. If milled corn is the first item you read, it is also the main ingredient.
Choosing sugar and color free, whole grain, products without additives is a good start. If your child wants it sweeter you can start by offering sweet, seasonal fruit and raisins to the cereal.
Fruit is not only delicious food, it is a tool you can use to teach children healthy eating habits.
This will make a big difference and the fruit not only sweetens, it provides important nutrients and vitamins.
If it’s still not sweet enough, drizzle a bit of local honey over it. Local honey is always the best choice because it can help avoid allergies, at least it has helped in my case. The nectar the bees collect is from the plants in their environment and therefore, the plants in yours.
With the right cutlery set, you can make really amazing creations such as banana ducks. Let your child help build funny creatures with the fruit; using toothpicks you can create all kinds of critters that will be fun to eat.
Television time is often snack time and we tend to eat without thinking or really tasting because we are focused on what’s happening on the screen. This actually becomes a great time to introduce a healthy snack that is easy to eat, and the TV distraction makes accepting it easier.
This means peeled oranges, sliced apples, grapes stripped from the cluster, strawberries without the stem, peaches and pears sliced.
Any fruit as long as it’s not a hassle to eat. If you want to add a dip for the fruit add a bit of honey and cinnamon.
Crunchy veggies can become very interesting and tasty too, if you serve them with a dip of fat-free yogurt with a few finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro, basil or oregano.
Peer pressure is something every child has to deal with. Fortunately for us, more and more parents want to make sure their children eat healthy food. But your kids will still have plenty of friends who are addicted to candy bars and chips.
It will be much easier for your child to resist these temptations if he/she knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy choices. You can to this by, for example, making a healthy snack scrapbook with them. They get to choose and cut out pictures from magazines of healthy snacks to include in their scrapbook. Make a healthy snack hit list. The top ten this month are…… and so on.
It’s really easy to please a child or make a snack you give them more appealing. If it’s a sandwich, you can use a dark and a light whole grain bread and, using a cookie cutter, cut a form out of each slice, interchanging the dark cut out into the light-colored whole grain bread and the light cut out into the dark-colored bread.
Your child will proudly devour this sandwich art.
Other ideas: How about making a swan out of an apple; or fruit-kabobs served with a yogurt dip? The sky is the limit when it comes to creating fun and fruity snack combinations.
At the Party
No one should arrive at a party empty-handed. Why not make sure you bring a healthy snack that all can share?
For example, if you are going to a Thanksgiving dinner, make a fruit turkey platter; not only are you giving everyone a healthy choice of snack on a day we tend to overindulge anyway, you are presenting a form of art. Your child will be proud of you.
Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how much fun you are going to have coming up with new ideas to surprise your child while making fruit just the best thing in the whole wide world.
With every new idea you put into that lunch box or on that TV tray you’re fruiting your way to their heart.
What are you waiting for? Get Fruiting today!