Q There are times I watch the children unpack their lunches and wish that they and their families knew more about healthy food choices. What can I do ?
A You could spend just a few minutes a day talking about food chokes, and have a very powerful impact. Stress simple concepts, such as how important it is to include healthy foods of different colors in your diet For older children, you can talk about how much they need the fiber in grain foods, or how the vitamin C in foods such as strawberries and oranges keeps their immune systems healthy. Be sure to share with parents the information you are discussing with children. Suggest that parents talk with their children about healthy food choices and involve them in the making and packing of their lunches.
Mary Ellen Renna, MD., is a pediatrician and the author of Next Generation Fitness, a childhood obesity prevention program.
WE RECOMMEND ...
www.bam.gov The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a new Web she called BAM! (Body and Mind). Aimed at kids, it's got easy to read info on healthy eating, exercise, and stress management.
www.healthychildcare.org American Academy of Pediatrics site devoted to supporting childrare professionals in promoting the health of voting children tlirough news, resources, and strategies.
www.nal.usda.gov/childcare Site connected with the USDA that offers news, monthly updates, recipes, and other resources for childcare professionals.
IMAGINE & MOVE
Children have terrific imaginations! Combine stretching their creativity with stretching their bodies in these fun movement activities.
1 Invite children to imagine that their foot is a paintbrush and that they need to cover the ground with a beautiful painting.
2 Suggest they pretend to be zookeepers giving a giraffe a bath. Make sure they reach all the way up to wash behind his ears!
3 Ask them to make believe that they are leaves on a tree. Suggest that the leaves break away from the tree and flow down to the ground.
4 Invite children to use their bodies to make shapes. Can they make the shape of a square?
Here are some terrific, hearthy snacks to mix up with children as assistant chefs!
Healthy Strawberry Shortcake
Cut the top off a low-fat bran muffin. Scoop out some muffin from the bottom half. Fill with sliced strawberries and low-fat plain yogurt. Put back the muffin top.
Fruit Dip "Fondue"
Stir together natural peanut butter and low-fat chocolate yogurt in equal proportions. Use as a dip for the fruit of your choice.
Asian Veggie Roll-Ups
Soak rice paper (found at Asian markets) in water according to package directions until thickened. Cut veggies into julienne strips (carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, or peppers). Layer veggies on the rice paper (add some soy sauce if you like) and roll up. Instant spring rolls!