Q We always offer milk at snack time in our program. We're wondering if milk is necessary. If so, what are the best sources of dairy for young children?
A Animal milk is not necessary for human health, though it does provide several key nutrients. They include calcium, a key component in bone growth, and vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and may also be important for optimal cardiovascular health, immune function, neurological function, and diabetes prevention. But beyond this, children who drink milk regularly tend not to consume soft drinks and other non-nutritious beverages. In fact, it looks like the biggest benefit of milk may be the way it tends to displace less healthful products from the diet
The best sources of dairy are yogurt (low-fat, preferably unsweetened); low-fat milk (2% is good); and hard cheese. Where possible, use organic products. Keep in mind that all the nutrients in animal milk can be obtained in other ways from our diet, by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and fish.
Revive the fun of Simon Says with children to encourage get-up-and-stretch movement. You remember the rules: players must do whatever Simon says-but only if he actually uses the phrase "Simon says..." So try: "Simon says reach to the sky (to encourage stretching). Simon says touch your toes. Simon says do 10 jumping jacks." Later, Simon can say, "Take a deep breath and get a drink of water!"
SNACK SIZE FUN AROUND THE WORLD RECIPES
Try these easy, nutritious recipes with children:
COLD SESAME NOODLES (CHINA)
½ Ib. whole-wheat angel hair pasta
½ cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. white pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and toss with 1 tbsp. sesame oil. Chill at least 1 hour. Put remainder of ingredients in a glass jar with a lid, and shake well. Chill. Pour chilled dressing over cold noodles. Top with 1 minced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.
FRESH FRUIT WITH STRAWBERRY GLAZE (ITALY)
1 cup orange juke
½ cup lemon juice
4 cups any other fresh fruit such as grapes, melon, plums, peaches
½ cup strawberry Jam
2 tbsp. orange juice
Put orange juice and lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel and slice all fruit, add to bowl, and toss to coat To make glaze, combine strawberry jam and 2 tbsp. orange juice until blended. Pour over the fruit and toss again until the fruit is lightly glazed. Chill for an hour or so. Serve cold.
Reprint from The International Cookbook for Kids by Mutthew Locrichie permission of Marshall. Cavendish
At Smallstep Kids, a Web site created by by the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, children can learn interesting exercise and nutrition facts, and enjoy interactive games.