A CHILD'S PLATE: GOOD NUTRITION
AND GOOD TASTE CAN GO HAND-IN-HAND
ONE of the most difficult tasks
for parents is to get finicky children to eat the proper foods
that are necessary for their growth and development. We all know
the importance of good nutrition, and if it is introduced early
on, nutritionists say that increases the likelihood of lifelong
good eating habits.
In too many cases, children eat
a diet that's high in calories and includes more than an ample
amount of processed foods. But with a little planning, you can
create a variety of tasty dishes that will give children the
healthy boost they need. The trick sometimes is to get them to
First, parents have to set a
good example by making wise choices and eating healthy dishes
themselves. Try new foods and new ways of preparing them, with
emphasis on dark green leafy vegetables, deep-yellow vegetables,
fruits and whole-grain products.
Secondly, offer your children a
variety of foods. When offering new foods, serve small "try me"
portions, about 1 or 2 tablespoons, and encourage your child to
create a new snack or sandwich from three or four healthy
ingredients you provide.
The USDA has created the Food
Guide Pyramid for young children, that divides food into five
major food groups--grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and meat.
Each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the
nutrients children need, and nutritionists say neither food
group is more important than the other. So to give your child
the best chance at full development, a well-balanced diet that
follows USDA guidelines is not only a necessity, but it's the
best way to give your child a healthy start.
The following are some
kid-friendly recipes that will appeal to you and your child and
have them begging for seconds.
Smiling Bug: Put a canned peach half on a lettuce-lined plate.
Use raisins for the eyes, cherry stems for antennae
(but do not eat) and half a maraschino cherry slice for the
Friendly Dog: Place a canned pear half on a lettuce-lined plate.
Cut a stewed prune lengthwise in half and remove the pit. Place
each prune half at the large end of the pear half for the ears.
Use raisins for the eyes. Place a cherry half at the top of the
narrow end of the pear half for the nose. Garnish salads with
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 English muffins, split in half
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 pimiento-stuffed or pitted black olives
4 slices canned pimiento
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup tomato sauce with 1/4
teaspoon oregano. Place muffin halves several
inches apart in ungreased jelly roll pan. Pour about 2
tablespoons of the tomato sauce on each muffin and spread to the
edge with rubber scraper. Sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons
of mozzarella cheese for a face and about 2 tablespoons of
shredded cheddar cheese around the edge for the hair. Use the
olive and pimiento slices to make the eyes and mouth. Place the
jelly roll pan in hot oven. Bake pizzas until cheese melts,
about 5 minutes.
Yields 4 servings
Peanut Buffer-Banana Sandwiches
4 slices raisin bread, toasted
Spread one side of 2 slices bread with peanut butter. Peel
banana and cut in half crosswise and again lengthwise to make 4
pieces. Put 2 pieces of banana on one slice of the peanut butter
toast. Top with plain slice of toast. Repeat with remaining
banana toast. With an adult's help, use sharp knife to cut each
sandwich in half.
Yields 2 sandwiches
WHAT COUNTS AS ONE SERVING
1 slice bread
1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
1/2 cup cooked cereal
1 ounce of ready-to-eat
1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
1 piece of fruit or melon wedge
3/4 cup of juice
1/2 cup of canned fruit
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1 cup of milk or yogurt
2 ounces of cheese
2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean
2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of
FAT AND SWEETS
Limit calories from these groups
COPYRIGHT 2005 Johnson Publishing
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group