Monday, December 24, 2012

Cook with your Kids this Holiday Season

The holidays are a fantastic time to get kids involved in cooking and learning about nutrition.  Research shows that kids who are involved in the cooking and preparation process, are more likely to try new foods.  Let them help wash, peel, sort, measure, mix, stir (the opportunity in the kitchen is endless and also depends on their age).  Let them get dirty and above all else... HAVE FUN!  That's what it is all about.  See this article from Kids Eat Right for more ideas and information: Kids Eat Right.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Veggie Kids

More and more children today are vegetarians either by having parents that raise them vegetarian or by choosing the lifestyle themselves (sometimes at a very early age!).  There is plenty of research which shows that a vegetarian lifestyle has enormous health benefits.  Vegetarians tend to consume more fiber, vitamins and minerals from a variety of sources. They also have lower cholesterol levels, and less likeliness of developing chronic illnesses such as obesity, atherosclerosis, asthma, and diabetes. Vegetarian foods are a more efficient energy source than animal products as they are easier for the body to break-down and leave a smaller carbon footprint.  There are often concerns about children being able to receive the nutrients that they need for proper growth and development when omitting meat from their diet.  Essentially, without meat, poultry and fish, we need to ensure that a child receives sufficient protein, iron and zinc.  There are plenty of veggie based protein and iron rich foods like tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans and  zinc can be found primarily whole grains, wheat germ, lima beans, soy, and nuts.  As with all children, offer your veggie loving little ones 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily so that they have many opportunities to receive the nutrition that they need.  If there are any concerns about growth or nutritional intake, discuss it with your child's pediatrician or pediatric dietitian.