Lunch provides the midday boost that you and your child need for afternoon brainpower. Packing lunch with your child is also a great way to stay connected. What if your child is a choosy eater? This can be a sign your child is searching for more independence. Your child might benefit from packing their own lunch, while you have the opportunity to serve as a model for good nutrition behaviors. Use the five main food groups for you and your child to pack your lunch.
- Fruit—Apple, banana, peach, grapes, pear, strawberries
- Vegetable—Raw celery, edamame, cucumber, peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes
- Protein—Chicken/turkey breast, tuna, peanut butter, handful of unsalted nuts, hummus, hard-boiled eggs
- Grain—Whole grain bread, bagel, muffin, steamed brown rice, quinoa
- Dairy—Cheese stick/cubes, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk
Encourage your child to pick or add foods together from each category to make a well-balanced lunch!
“What’s for Lunch? It’s in the Bag,” (store.extension.iastate.edu/product/13900)
Serving Size: 1/2 roll-up | Serves: 2
- 1/2 medium apple
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 (8 inch) whole wheat tortilla
- 2 to 3 tablespoons crispy rice cereal
- Chop apple into small pieces, slice thinly, or shred with grater.
- Spread peanut butter in a thin layer over tortilla.
- Spread apple pieces in an even layer over peanut butter.
- Sprinkle with cereal.
- Roll up tightly and cut in half.
Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 4g protein.
Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.
Crumbs and spills aside, cooking with children is a great way to spend quality time and teach important skills like measuring, counting, and following directions. Here are ideas for cooking with children:
- Teach them to wash their hands. Provide a step stool or chair that children can stand on to reach the counter where you are working.
- Choose tasks that are appropriate for their age. Explain clearly, in simple instructions, what you would like them to do and show them. For tips on what children can do, watch How to Include Children in the Kitchen.
- Children can help plan menus and suggest foods they like. They can check the pantry or refrigerator for foods on hand.
- Children can help at the grocery store by looking for certain foods, shapes, and colors. Children can help put groceries away when you get home.
There are benefits when you involve children with meals and snacks!
- Children are more likely to eat foods they have helped plan and prepare.
- Children develop fine motor skills, self-confidence, and independence.
- Working with your children in the kitchen provides quality time together. You can teach them why nutritious foods are important.
- Food preparation is a great way to help them use their senses—look, touch, taste, smell, and listen.
Try child-friendly recipes such as Crunchy Apple Roll-up, Scrambled Egg Muffin, Fruit Pizza, and Pizza on a Potato.
Winter months can be a challenge for daily physical activity because the need does not change in cold weather. Adults can ensure children (and they) are moving and developing their muscles by providing large muscle play opportunities. Action rhymes are a great way to get everyone moving. What are action rhymes? These are songs or poems set to motion that tell a story. Some classic action rhymes include “Row Your Boat,” “Ring Around the Rosy,” and “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes.”
When winter weather will allow, walking in the snow is a workout in itself; make it more interesting by searching for animal tracks. Pretending to be those animals when there is snow on the ground is a fun new game. Old-time favorite activities like creating a snow angel, dancing the “Hokey Pokey,” or playing the game “Duck, Duck Goose” are also a workout in the snow. Throwing snowballs at a target (a red circle in the snow made using food coloring) will satisfy the throwing urge and no one gets hurt. Following the leader or marching in a circle lifting those legs as high as they can go and swinging arms gets many muscles working.
Source: Posted on December 24, 2012, by Shannon Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension.
Use technology to introduce your children or grandchildren to food safety basics they can put to use all summer long. Below is a list of technology-based resources that can help make learning food safety fun. The first two are free apps for iPads, iPhones, or iPod touch that can be downloaded from iTunes:
• Perfect Picnic Game: This app helps kids learn how to build and run a food safe picnic park.
• Solve the Outbreak: This app allows kids to become a food detective and uncover the what, why, and how of foodborne illness outbreaks and to see the type of work that real-life “Disease Detectives” do. (Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
• Scrub Club: This interactive website teaches kids about hand-washing through the use of games, songs, videos, and other downloadable activities. (From the National Science Foundation International) Go to: http://www.scrubclub.org/home.aspx
For more information on these and other food safety applications, please visit: http://www.fightbac.org/kids
Stores are advertising school supplies, new clothes, and shoes. It must be back-to-school time! To ensure your kids have a successful school year, start kids out with a healthy breakfast.
Research shows that many of us believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet more than half of all Americans do not eat breakfast every day, according to the 2009 Food and Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition, and Health, conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation. Are you one of those non-breakfast eaters? If so, read on to see how this morning meal boosts brainpower.
How totally cool that breakfast fuels kids’ brains for school! Research shows that children who eat breakfast:
- Show improvements on math, reading, and standardized test scores
- Pay better attention and perform better on problem-solving tasks
- Are less likely to be absent or tardy — and are more likely to behave better in school
- Consume more important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, dietary fiber, and protein
- Are less likely to be overweight
Adult breakfast skippers, take note — eating breakfast may help boost your brainpower,too. Remember, your kids are more likely to eat breakfast if you do, too. Eating breakfast together is even a better bonus — it helps instill more healthful eating habits in kids as they grow up.
Source: International Food Information Council Foundation, August 2010.