Family

Eating Healthy on a Budget!

10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, DG Tip sheet number 16
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Choking Hazards for Toddlers and Infants!

Common foods that cause choking:

  • Whole grapes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Hotdogs
  • Raw vegetables
  • Large amounts of peanut butter
  • Hard sticky candy
  • Marshmallows

How to avoid choking:

  • Cut up food into pieces smaller than ½ inch thick
  • Cook vegetables until soft
  • Offer well ripened naturally soft fruits and veggies like bananas, avocado, ripe peaches, kiwi, ripe mango
  • Avoid harder round fruits like grapes
  • Remove any tough skin before feeding
  • Always supervise your child while eating
  • Never allow child to walk around or play while eating

Ideal foods for young eaters:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Cooked sweet potatoes
  • Soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella
  • Whole milk yogurt
  • Canned fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not packed in syrup)
  • Well-cooked veggies
  • Lean ground meats chopped very small

Toys are choking hazards too!

  • Never let young children play with balloons
  • Bouncy balls and marbles are not safe for young children
  • Follow manufacture guidelines and don’t let infants and toddlers play with toys intended for children over 3 years of age, they can cause choking!
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Getting your kid involved in the kitchen (safely)!

2-3 Year Olds

  • Wash vegetables in the sink
  • Tear lettuce and other greens into pieces
  • Pull herbs from stems
  • Stir with large spoon (avoid foods that are hot)
  • Brush oil onto foods with a basting brush
  • Sprinkle herbs/seasonings onto food
  • Hand items to an adult to put away
  • Throw items in the trash
  • Wipe tables

4-6 Year Olds

  • All tasks from younger age group
  • Squeeze lemons & limes
  • Measure ingredients with measuring spoons and cups
  • Begin to crack eggs
  • Knead dough
  • Cut softer foods with a butter knife or plastic knife
  • Set the table
  • Use child safe scissors to cut herbs
  • Mash bananas or potatoes

7-9 Year Olds

  • All tasks from younger age group
  • Form patties with ground meat
  • Load dishwasher
  • Grate cheese and vegetables with box grater
  • Peel produce with a hand peeler
  • Zest lemons and limes
  • Use manual can opener

10 Years Old and Above

At this age most children can do more advanced tasks in the kitchen. They can begin to use real knives, with supervision (after being taught proper knife safety). They can follow simple step by step recipes and use the stove. Make sure they have been taught proper kitchen safety prior to performing these tasks alone.

Remember, you know your child the best. Developmental milestones are achieved at different times for many children. Make sure you feel confident with your child’s ability before letting them perform a kitchen task. Always provide supervision until they have demonstrated they can perform the task safely.

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Food Safety Basics!

Clean: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before and after touching food and after using the bathroom
  • Wash your hands after playing with pets
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food and before going on to the next food
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water
  • Keep books, backpacks or shopping bags off the kitchen table or counters where food is prepared or served

Separate: Don’t Cross Contaminate

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in the refrigerator
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked to a safe internal temperature
  • Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs

Cook: Cook to Proper Temperature

  • Beef roasts and steak: minimum 145 degrees
  • Pork: minimum of 145 degrees
  • Poultry: minimum 165 degrees
  • Ground meat: 160 degrees
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and white are firm, not runny
  • Casseroles containing eggs: 160 degrees
  • Fish: 145 degrees
  • Leftovers: 165 degrees

Chill: Refrigerate Promptly

  • Refrigerator temperature: 40 degrees or below
  • Freezer temperature: 0 degrees or below  
  • Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours
  • Never defrost food at room temperature
    • Defrost foods in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator
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Healthy Snacking Ideas!

Some tips from our Registered Dietitian on getting a healthy snack together!

  • Snacks should be around 100-200 calories. If they are too large you risk spoiling the next meal. 
  • Aim to serve food from at least 2 food groups at each meal (grains, dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables). 
  • It is best to include a protein containing food in every meal and snack. 
  • Snacks are a great way to get an extra serving of fruits or vegetables in! 
  • For quick snack ideas, choose a food item from 2 of the columns below. 

GrainsProteinsFruits & Vegetables
Whole grain crackersWhole wheat tortillaPretzel sticksGraham crackersWhole grain mini bagelWhole wheat English muffin Whole grain mini muffin
Low-fat cheese Peanut butter (or other nut butter)Low-fat yogurtSliced deli meatLow-fat plain milkHardboiled eggAny fresh fruit*Any fresh vegetable*Canned fruit packed in 100% juice or waterUnsweetened apple sauceDried fruit (raisins) 

*For young eaters, fresh fruits and vegetables need to be ripe/soft and cut into small pieces (less than ½ inch thick). Thick skin should be pealed (ex: apples) before eating. Crunchy veggies should be steamed first to avoid choking. Round foods, like grapes, should be cut in half.

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How to: Healthy Snacking!

My Plate, snack tips, children
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