Celebrate National Nutrition Month by Helping Your Kids Eat Right with Color
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When it comes to food and nutrition, even the most knowledgeable parents can use help making sure their children are eating healthy meals. Each March, the American Dietetic Association celebrates National Nutrition Month®, and this year's theme, "Eat Right with Color," encourages parents to take time to make sure their children are getting all of the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. The good news is that shopping, cooking and eating healthfully have just gotten easier with assistance from from ADA and its Foundation.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently reported that children, teens and adults have diets deficient in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium and potassium, and the Kids Eat Right campaign calls for increased attention to the alarming nutrient deficiencies in children's diets.
"Weight is not the only measure of good nutrition and health. Any child — whether they are of normal weight, overweight or obese — can be undernourished," says registered dietitian Dr. Katie Brown, national education director for the American Dietetic Association Foundation.
"Quality nutrition requires a total diet approach that goes beyond calorie counting alone, to focus on including those nutrients critical for a child's healthy growth and development," Brown says. "This year's National Nutrition Month theme is a great reminder for parents to focus on that total diet approach by including a variety of foods and colors in every meal, every day."
Brown offers the following guidance for helping your kids "Eat Right with Color":
Give kids whole-grain cereals for breakfast, kid-friendly "white" whole-wheat bread for sandwiches, crunchy whole-grain crackers for snacks and whole-grain pastas for dinner.
Eat more fruits and vegetables at every meal. At breakfast, enjoy fresh or frozen berries on cereal, slices of melon or a glass of 100 percent orange juice; at lunch, serve baby carrots or sliced apples; for dinner, put brightly colored vegetables at the center of every plate.
Most young people in America are not getting enough calcium or potassium. Fortunately, it's easy to consume the three daily dairy servings children and teens need. Try an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk with breakfast, lunch and dinner; yogurt parfaits for breakfast or an after-school snack; or string cheese for an on-the-go energy snack.
Getting enough protein at every meal and snack helps kids feel satisfied after eating. Start their day with egg or bean burritos. For snacks, provide peanut butter or sliced deli meat.