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in an ezine


















Bronwyn Ritchie's Pivotal Points






Ebony,  Feb, 2005

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 eat it.

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.

Fun Salad

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 mouth.

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 carrot curls.

Pizza Faces

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

Peanut butter
1  banana

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



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 meat.
2   tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of meat


Limit calories from these groups


COPYRIGHT 2005 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group



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