Teachers

Our Core Nutritional Lessons

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
    1. When making your plate for a meal, follow the “plate method”. Fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies and fill the other half with protein and whole grains
  • Make half your grains whole grains
    • Throughout the day be mindful of your grain choices. Half of the grains you eat each day should be considered a whole grain such as whole wheat bread, whole oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, etc. Whole grains have more fiber which keeps you full longer, helps with digestion and can play a role in lowering cholesterol levels in your body!
  • Everything in moderation
    • It’s okay to eat sweets and less healthful foods, but this should be done in small quantities and less often than foods that are more healthful for your body.
  • Strong bodies need strong bones: Milk Matters!
    • Your body needs calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones and teeth. You can only build your bones as a child – once you reach adulthood you can no longer make your bones stronger! Milk has protein, calcium and vitamin D! Drinking low fat plain milk is lower in calories, fat and sugar than drinking whole milk or flavored milk.
  • Focus on whole fruits (over canned fruit and fruit juice)
    • Fruit is packed with vitamins and fiber and is lower in calories than other snack foods. By choosing whole fruits over canned fruit and fruit juice, you are getting less sugar and more fiber!
  • Vary your veggies (dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy and other vegetables)
    • By choosing different vegetables throughout the day and week, you are getting different vitamins and minerals in your diet. Choose a rainbow of colors!
  • Vary your protein routine (seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds)
    • Choose lean proteins more often (skinless chicken, lean beef, turkey and fish) as these are lower in fat and saturated fat. Try having a meal each week where your protein comes from a plant source (soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds).
  • Limit added sugars: less than 10% daily calories
    • Limit sugary drinks and choose water or unflavored milk most often. Save sugary desserts/snacks for special occasions and substitute fruit and yogurt for dessert.
  • Limit saturated fat: less than 10% daily calories
    • Choose low fat dairy products and lean meats to lower saturated fat intake. When eating foods higher in fat check the label to make sure most of the fat is coming from unsaturated fat instead of saturated or trans-fat! Your body needs fat, so choose healthy (unsaturated) fats over saturated fats.
  • Limit sodium
    • Limiting sodium may help prevent high blood pressure. Choose more whole/fresh foods such as fruits, veggies, meats and whole grains over processed pre-packaged foods.
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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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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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