“Nutritional minutes” encourage mindful eating

An Idaho elementary school turns out the lights and asks students to be quiet for the first five minutes of each lunch period. The “nutritional minutes” encourage students to be mindful about their eating, although one parent has questioned the practice, saying it may make students uncomfortable.

KREM-TV (Spokane, Wash.)

What’s on the Menu?

Let children help decide, such as choosing a vegetable side dish. Let them draw or write their choice to get them involved in meal planning.

Remake Family Pizza Night

Add fresh veggies like spinach, broccoli, or peppers for a healthy and colorful twist.

CDC Launches Website on Infant and Toddler Nutrition

Good nutrition during the first 2 years of life is vital for healthy growth and development. Children grow and develop every day. As they grow older, their nutrition needs change. Children with healthier eating patterns in their first year of life are more likely to have a healthier eating pattern later on. Yet too many children are not eating a healthy diet.

Among U.S. children between 1 to 2 years of age:

  • 15% are iron deficient,
  • Fewer than half ate a vegetable on a given day, and
  • More than 3 out of 10 children drank a sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day.

Credible information about infant and toddler nutrition is important for parents and caregivers. CDC is providing parents of young children with this nutrition information to help infants and toddlers get a healthy start in life.

CDC is releasing a website that brings together existing information and practical strategies on developing healthy eating patterns for infants and toddlers, from birth to 24 months of age.

Topics include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Formula feeding
  • Essential vitamins & minerals
  • Introduction of solid foods
  • Foods and drinks to encourage
  • Tips on mealtime routines, …and more!

Get Kids Cooking

Having kids help in the kitchen is a great activity for families. Try a new recipe or invent your own!

Have fun building a great plate!

Teach kids how to build a great plate while having fun with MyPlate Kids’ Place activity sheets. Each activity sheet has tips and tricks to teach kids about the MyPlate food groups!

MyPlate Kids’ Place:


How to Get Teens to Eat Breakfast

It might be a challenge to get teenagers to do anything, but getting them to eat the most important meal of the day doesn’t have to be.

Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog, has tips on how to get teens to eat breakfast.

Studies suggest 60 percent of U.S. teens don’t eat breakfast every day and 14 percent skip breakfast more or all days of the week, according to Squires.

She said that parents can make breakfast easy for teens by having food they can grab and eat, such as breakfast burritos, smoothies, yogurt, egg sandwiches and bagels.

“You know they’re going to be sleepy,” Squires said, suggesting parents give teens something to grab on the go such as cut-up cheese or nuts.

Moreover, parents can encourage teenagers to eat breakfast by modeling good habits and eating breakfast themselves.

March is National Nutrition Month

Happy National Nutrition Month! This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants us to Go Further with Food! What does that mean? Simply put, make healthy food choices for every occasion. Start your morning off with a wholesome breakfast and make smart food choices throughout the day. Don’t forget about special events like a night out with friends or a family celebration – plan to have healthy options available for you to eat even during those times.

Going further with food could also include, going local! Take the extra step to find the origin of your food and support the local farmers in your community. Spring is near and farmers markets are ready to sell fresh, local foods. Gear up for the spring bounty and find a farmers market near you!

6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruit (And Love It!)

How can you get your kids to eat more fruit? Here are six tips you can use to guide them without saying a word:

  1. Eat Together: If you snack on fruit in front of your kids, they’re more likely to meet their fruit and vegetable requirements.
  2. Keep Trying: Many children reject new foods because they’re afraid of them, not because they don’t like the taste. Don’t give up! You may need to present a new fruit 10 times or more before they’ll accept it.
  3. Slice Fruit: Your kids may be more likely to want sliced fruit than whole fruit. ]
  4. Use Stickers: Stickers: so simple, yet so powerful. If you stick a popular cartoon character on a piece of fruit, you may find your child more excited about eating it.
  5. Let Them Pick Their Fruit: While it’s not as exciting as plucking fruit off a tree, your children can still participate in the picking process at the grocery store.
  6. Mix It Up: Offer fruit in a variety of forms, textures and shapes. Experiment with frozen, freeze-dried, canned, fresh and dried fruit, as well as 100 percent juice and nectar.

The Cost of Raising a Child

USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.

Where does the money go? For a middle-income family, housing accounts for the largest share at 29% of total child-rearing costs.  Food is second at 18%, and child care/education (for those with the expense) is third at 16%. Expenses vary depending on the age of the child.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips and materials from the USDA to make healthy choices while staying within your budget.

For additional information, access the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child calculator, to look at spending patterns for families similar to yours.