Ingredients for ensuring children eat right

  • By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald
  • Monday, August 25, 2014 12:33pm
  • Life

Well, isn’t that good timing? Right when my daughter and grandkids are here for a visit, I learn that August is Kids Eat Right Month (kidseatright.org). And along with this proclamation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has released a new position paper on feeding kiddos in the 2 to 11 year-old age range.

Our goals, of course, are for young ones to achieve their full physical and mental development. To enjoy food. And to maintain a healthy weight as they skip into adulthood.

How are we doing? The good news is that, after two decades of skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity, the numbers are beginning to stabilize. The bad news? Several key nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium and dietary fiber, are being under-consumed by young children.

Here are some ways we can feed our kids to keep them healthy for a lifetime:

Provide “nutrient-dense” foods that supply a big nutritional bang for the calorie buck. A small orange for example, is loaded with potassium and dietary fiber for a measly 60 calories. Cheetos, on the other hand, have few nutrients except fat, refined starch and salt for 160 calories.

Serve child-sized portions on child-sized plates. Studies show that the larger the plate, the more food we tend to eat.

Limit juice. Even 100 percent fruit juice in a cute little container is a vehicle for concentrated calories. Experts recommend no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day.

Limit fast food. Frequent fast food sets Junior up to overload on calories and under-consume key nutrients.

Nourish little bodies and minds in the morning. Little ones who eat a simple morning meal can be expected to perform better with school tasks than those who do not, say researchers.

Be the parent. Kids can regulate their food intake well but only if they are in an environment that supports that.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Email her at bquinnchomp.org.

More in Life

‘Last Jedi’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since the first one

This instant-classic popcorn movie makes clever references to the past while embracing the new.

Jesse Sykes brings her evolving sounds to Cafe Zippy in Everett

She and Phil Wandscher make a return trip to a club that she values for its intimacy.

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Ugly Sweater Party and Canned Food Drive at Whitewall: Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing… Continue reading

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

‘Ferdinand’ a modern take on the beloved children’s story

The lovable bull is back in an enjoyable but spotty animated film from the makers of “Ice Age.”

Playwright alleges misconduct by Hoffman when she was 16

A classmate of Dustin Hoffman’s daughter says the actor exposed himself in 1980.

Art mimicks reality in engrosing ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The Korean film tells the story of an actress recovering from an affair with a married director.

Most Read