Kids are enjoying the first few days of summer vacation but that does not mean that learning has to take a vacation; especially in the area of nutrition education. I remember when John and I were raising our three kids that our summer grocery bill jumped considerably. It would have been easy to fall into the trap of stocking up on the many processed foods on the market and offering those to our busy family. Instead I tried to make sure we had the refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy choices for meals and snacks.
Food is a source of energy. Choosing healthy foods provides the energy to grow and play, and provides the building blocks of a strong, healthy body for kids of all ages. It is important to teach children about healthy foods and their health benefits. When children learn these lessons at a young age, they are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout their adult life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy eating reduces risk for obesity, dental caries, and several diseases that can lead to death such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
I have a colorful new handout titled, “Snack Strategies for Kids,” available at the Extension Office. The front of the handout shows pictures of healthy choices from each of the MyPlate food groups. Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables lead the way as some of the best nutrient dense food choices; those are the ones that offer many nutrients compared to the number of calories they contain. Plus, you get the added bonus of fiber when you eat whole fruits and veggies.
The back of the handout shares some additional snack ideas. There is a great list of “Grab & Go” snack ideas that can satisfy the hunger of those little ones and keep their energy level high. Of course there is also a reminder that snacks should not replace a meal, so keep portions small.
Feel free to drop by the Extension office at 1800 12th Street, for your free copy of “Snack Strategies for Kids.” An excellent web site features the “Kids A Cookin” recipes that are kid friendly. The recipes range from main dishes, to snacks and healthy beverages. The web site is: www.kidsacookin.ksu.edu
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or email@example.com