Posts

Four Tips for Kids to Eat More Veggies

There are several fun and effective strategies for making veggies more appealing to picky eaters.  These four ideas can pave the way for new habits to be built.

1. Improving Availability

Serving vegetables and salads consistently will help them seem more natural. To make healthy snacks accessible, keep containers of carrot sticks, celery, snow peas and other vegetables handy. This is a good way to get kids to help themselves and build healthy habits.

2. Going Undercover

If you can’t get your kids to eat veggie-based dishes and sides, you can always sneak healthy items into their favorite foods. At breakfast, add sautéed vegetables to scrambled eggs or omelets. It’s easy to hide zucchini in a pot of pasta sauce. Spinach and carrots are great in lasagna. Combining veggies with foods they already know and like have a much higher acceptability for kids.

3. Involving Kids

Getting children involved in cooking is a great way to help them see vegetables differently. If kids have the option to choose a vegetable for dinner or help prepare it, they’re more likely to enjoy the experience. Starting a backyard garden is another way to get youngsters into vegetables. Planting seeds, watching plants grow and picking vegetables for dinner can get kids excited about veggies. String beans, lettuce, and radishes grow quickly and are rewarding crops. Kids can also be in charge of making their own lunches and deciding what snacks they want to eat!

4. Making Vegetables Appealing

Sometimes, the way vegetables are cut can have a big effect. Carrots and cucumbers can become cute flowers if you make a few V-shaped cuts before they’re sliced.

 

Real Food Drive and Fruit-Grams at Winter Park High School

Using #nocandygrams, Live Life Healthy (LLH) students promoted “fruit-grams” to Winter Park High School students on Dec. 10.  The fruit-grams served as a healthy alternative to the traditional candy gram.

On December 14th, through the efforts of the LLH Real Food Drive, LLH students were able to give out 240 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to Winter Park High School students.

 

Live.Life.Healthy Hosts Real Food Drive

Live.Life.Healthy would like to provide Winter Park High School (WPHS) students with fresh fruits and vegetables they can take home with them over the holiday breaks.  WPHS has many students that utilize the school’s food pantry (which consists of canned or boxed food), that would truly appreciate REAL food.  Live.Life.Healthy is partnering with Amp Your Good on this Real Food Drive so  you can donate fresh produce.

It’s easy to help!  Just select the donate button, pick out and purchase the food you would like to donate and it will be delivered directly to the WPHS food pantry after the drive is over.  You’ll receive a tax receipt via email.

Hurry, the drive ends November 30, 2016.

Click here to learn more and to donate.

Healthy Diet as Teen, Less Weight Gain as Adult

Teens who eat right may gain less weight later on, researchers report.

Encouraging more young people to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and whole grains while limiting sugar, red meat and processed foods could have a positive long-term effect on obesity rates, investigators found.

The University of Minnesota researchers tracked the diet and weight of more than 2,500 teens, starting at age 15, over a decade.

“People with a healthier diet at 15 gained less weight over the next five and 10 years,” lead author David Jacobs said in a university news release. Jacobs is a professor of epidemiology and community health.

A separate study of middle school and high school students showed similar results. It found that healthy eaters were not thinner at 15, but were slimmer at ages 20 and 25.

And that held true regardless of their food intake, physical activity and smoking habits, according to the report published recently in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Food preferences and attitudes may be established as early as age 15,” Jacobs said. “The choices adolescents make during that stage establish a lifetime diet pattern, which could influence weight gain over time.”

The study authors suggested that parents and health care professionals help young people develop healthy eating habits and recognize that tastes may change.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about teen nutrition.

Gardening May Give Kids’ Diets a Boost

Letting kids help with gardening may sow the seeds of a lifelong healthy eating habit, according to new research.

College students who gardened as a kid, or were currently gardeners, ate more fruits and vegetables than their peers without a green thumb, researchers at the University of Florida found.

“This finding is particularly relevant, given the recent popularity of school gardens and farm-to-school projects,” the study’s lead author, Anne Mathews, said in a school news release. She is an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

This study is part of a larger effort by researchers from several U.S. universities to get college students to eat healthier foods. The new program is dubbed the “Get Fruved” (Get Your Fruits and Vegetables) project. The investigators are analyzing which variables influence the eating habits of teens and young adults.

To explore how participation in school gardening projects affected students’ long-term eating habits, Mathews and her colleagues surveyed over 1,300 college students.

The participants were divided into four groups: those who gardened in childhood; those who currently gardened; those who gardened in childhood and still do; and, those who never gardened.

The study found that 30 percent of the students gardened as a child, and 38 percent currently gardened. These students ate 2.9 cups of fruits and vegetables daily — about a half a cup more than their peers who never gardened, the study showed.

“We found that if your parents gardened but you did not, just watching them did not make a difference in how much fruits and vegetables you eat in college. Hands-on experience seems to matter,” said Mathews.

The findings should encourage schools to offer gardening lessons or a group program that exposes young children to the activity. Doing so could encourage students to maintain healthy eating habits later in life and perhaps help curb rates of childhood obesity, the study authors suggested.

The findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The report is also expected to be presented next month at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition in Boston.

More information

The American Heart Association has more tips to help children develop healthy eating habits.

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, Sept. 19, 2016

Agriculture Literacy Day – April 26

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc.’s annual Agriculture Literacy Day will take place on Tuesday, April 26. This year, Drive Through Florida: Vegetables will be the featured book. The program is looking for volunteer readers to help spread the word about healthy Florida vegetables. Readers who participate will join Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and hundreds of Florida farmers, ranchers, growers, FFA teachers and students, 4-H parents and students, University of Florida/IFAS extension agents, master gardeners and agriculture representatives who will read in honor of the event. To learn more or download the book, visit their website here.

Easy Ways to Use Frozen Produce

Adapted from Produce for Kids

frozen fruit

We try to get as many fruits and vegetables into our child’s diet as possible but it can be expensive and take a lot of time!  A great solution to decrease cost and time is to incorporate frozen produce.  Here are some tips from our friends at Produce for Kids to help you ensure your child is getting their five servings of fruits and vegetables even when their favorites may not be in season:

  1. Stir-it up.  A simple veggie stir-fry utilizing a bag of frozen veggies, sautéed with peanut sauce and piled on a serving of steamed brown rice is a go-to recipe. You can check it out by clicking here.
  2. Get souped. It’s such a shame to let your beautiful leafy greens wilt and make their way to the trash. Instead, opt for frozen spinach or kale to add in soups or casseroles for an added boost of fiber and nutrients, without the risk of spoiled produce.
  3. Embrace the smoothie craze. If you’re one of those people that repeatedly falls short on meeting your fruit and veggie goal, start your day with a smoothie. You can add all kinds of powerful plant foods, from berries to greens to tropical fruits! Even better, enjoy your creation smoothie-bowl style. Allow yourself the chance to sit down and mindfully “eat your smoothie.”
  4. Be innovative. Thawed, frozen corn is a delicious addition to homemade salsas while thawed, frozen peas add a burst of flavor and texture to veggie-heavy salads. And fruit can be used in a variety of baked goods, such as breads and muffins. When baking with frozen raspberries, leave them frozen until you are ready to add to the batter so they maintain their integrity and won’t “bleed.”
  5. Feast on fruit for dessert. You won’t only be satisfying your sweet tooth with fruit, you’ll be consuming more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, too. Thawed, frozen raspberries topped with a spoonful of yogurt, a drizzle of dark chocolate or a sprinkling of homemade granola might just change the way you look at dessert.
  6. Get saucy. Frozen fruit is ideal for creating a fruit compote to top on your pancakes or waffles. Or better yet, let your frozen fruit take a walk on the wild side and create the sweet-savory balance by using it as an ingredient for a marinade or salsa in your dinner recipes.

Click here for more information, including yummy recipes!

Tips to Get Calcium Beyond Milk

Food Festival 3x

Mom always told you to drink your milk, but did you listen? Although it’s one of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of calcium, not everyone can stomach dairy. Still, we all need calcium for strong, healthy bones, teeth and muscles. If milk isn’t your child’s thing, but you don’t want them to come up short, consider these additional sources of calcium:

Canned seafood

One 3-ounce can of pink, canned salmon solids with bone gives your child 181 mg of calcium. Sardines are another great source of calcium; one can delivers 351 mg. Try mixing them into a salad if your child is worried worried about the taste.

Fortified drinks

Consider calcium-fortified soy milk, almond milk, rice milk or orange or cranberry juice. Check for labels on canned frozen juices to ensure they’re “calcium-fortified.” Just 6 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice provides 261 mg of calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health. One 8-ounce glass of fortified soy milk yields 299 mg of calcium. (Budget-conscious shoppers: Pass on the organic or freshly squeezed juices, which don’t always provide extra calcium.)

Beans

Black-eyed peas pack a particularly hefty dose of calcium; just 1 cup weighs in at 183 mg. Baked beans are also high in calcium.  Soak beans in water for several hours and cook them in fresh water to reduce a naturally occurring substance known as phytate, which can interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Vegetables

Collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and broccoli are all excellent sources of calcium. For example, a half cup of fresh, boiled turnip greens delivers 99 mg of calcium, and 1 cup of raw, chopped kale packs 100 mg.

Nuts and seeds

A single cup of plain almonds delivers 243 mg of calcium, 1 cup of walnuts provides 78 mg. Hazelnuts are even better, with 1 cup packing 154 mg of calcium. Brazil nuts, found in most grocery stores, provide 213 mg per cup. Add flaxseeds or sunflower seeds to a green leafy salad for even more calcium. If your child is a peanut butter person, consider alternatives such as almond butter, cashew butter or pumpkin seed butter for a boost in calcium with less sodium.

Oatmeal and cereal

Breakfast cereals and hot instant oatmeal offer an easy way to stuff calcium into your child’s diet. Just be sure to grab a low-sugar brand or the old-fashioned rolled oats, which typically have less sugar than some instant packets. One cup of ready-to-eat cereal, meanwhile, can provide anywhere from 100 to 1,000 mg of calcium depending on the brand.

New: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Dietary-GuidelinesThe 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released last week.  The guidelines, which are revised every five years, are based on evolving nutrition science and serve as the government’s official advice on what to eat. One concrete change: Americans are being told to limit sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.

Here’s a comparison of the added sugars that the average American eats with how much they should be eating, according to the most recent guidelines:

sugars-chartKey Recommendations

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

Additional recommendations include:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
  • Meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
 Click here for additional information on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

10 Smoothies for Kids

Kids smoothiesAdapted from Vitamix

Incorporating veggies into the family diet in subtle ways can help expand the palate and cultivate a taste for vegetables. Smoothies use the natural sweetness of fruit as the perfect disguise. Pineapple, orange, and grapes are particularly good smoothie ingredients to marry with vegetables. Apples can offset greens with a slight “bite” such as spinach. Cucumber adds a crisp finish without taking center stage. Try these recipes for nutrition that looks as wonderful as it tastes.

  1. Beet, Strawberry, Cranberry Smoothie
    Bright, beautiful, and bursting with flavor.
  2. Fruit Salad Smoothie
    Carrot and cucumber go incognito in this delicious medley of fruit.
  3. Gold Medal Smoothie
    Fresh fruit and carrot create a winning combination. Add protein powder for sustained energy when you’re on the go.
  4. All Green Smoothie
    Broccoli and greens are tucked neatly behind the sweetness of grapes, pear, avocado, and pineapple juice.
  5. Everything Smoothie
    With carrot, broccoli, spinach, and six different fruits, this recipe lives up to its name.

For smoothies 6-10, visit the Vitamix website.