Child Nutrition Questions and Answers
FLAVORED MILK - the facts
Question: How can I get my child to try different fruits and vegetables?
Answer: The most important way to get your child to eat and try more fruits and vegetables is to be a role model and let them see you eat your fruits and vegetables every day. Include them in the shopping and let them pick out new fruits and vegetables to try. Also, have a large supply of fruits and vegetables at home – whether they are fresh, frozen, canned, or in juice form – so if they available for snacking. Cut fruits and vegetables into different shapes and sizes and even dip them in low-fat fruit and vegetable dips. Have your child keep track of all the different fruits and vegetables that they try!
Question: How often should my child exercise?
Answer: Regular physical activity is important to maintaining good health. Children should engage in physical activity for a minimum of 30-45 minutes each day. Regular physical activity helps burn calories, helps with weight control, and helps to prevent some chronic diseases. Children should enjoy different types of physical activity at home, at school, in the community, and at childcare centers. See the Kids Activity Pyramid for some examples to help your child to stay physically active.
Question: Is it OK for my child to skip breakfast?
Answer: Have you heard the phrase that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Well it is true! Children learn better if they eat breakfast. It fuels their bodies with important nutrients and keeps them from getting morning tummy aches. And if they eat breakfast, it helps to control the urge to snack or eat a big lunch. Some quick, easy ideas for a yummy breakfast are cereal with milk and fruit, peanut butter on whole wheat toast, bagel with cheese, oatmeal with fruit, and pita bread and yogurt.
Question: Is it OK for my child to snack between meals?
Answer: Most children do best when they eat 4 to 6 times a day. Snacks serve as mini-meals that help to provide important nutrients and energy that your child needs to grow, play, and learn. But it is important that you child is having healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, yogurt, or graham crackers and not a lot of snacks with added sugar and fat. Serve snacks in small amounts and have snacks 2 to 3 hours before a meal so they will be hungry for lunch and supper.
Question: How do I shop for meals on a budget?
Answer: Plan for your shopping trip before you go. Clip coupons and browse the store ads to see what is on sale. Look for grocery stores that give double value to coupons. Make sure that you check what you have in your freezer, fridge, and cupboards before you go so that you won’t be things that you don’t need. Also, don’t go to the store on an empty stomach cause you will be more tempted to buy food that you don’t need. Buy generic and store brand products and compare the unit price (price per ounce). You may save money if you buy a larger package. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables when they are in season and buy day old bakery items. And don’t forget to use your coupons!
Question: I have problems digesting dairy products. Are there other calcium-rich foods that I could try to make sure that I get all the calcium that I need?
Answer: As you probably know, calcium is important for strong bones and teeth and in helping your muscles work right. If you don’t get enough calcium, you will lose it from your bones and they will become weak and break easily. Most adults need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. Try these calcium-rich foods to make sure you get all the calcium that you need everyday:
- Turnip Greens
- Calcium-fortified orange juice
- Calcium-fortified cereals
- Lactose-reduced milk or soy milk
- Yogurt (can be easier to digest in small amounts)
Question: Our family eats only vegetarian meals. Will my child still get all the important nutrients that he needs to stay healthy?
Answer: Use the Food Guide Pyramid to make sure that you child will get all the important nutrients that they need to stay healthy. Eggs, dry beans, tofu, soy burgers, nuts, peanut butter, and seeds will provide protein. Grains will give your child the carbohydrates that they need for energy. Fruit and vegetables will give your child fiber and important vitamins and minerals. It is also important to include foods with iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc if your family avoids all animal products. Use the food label to find foods that have these important vitamins and minerals added. Foods with iron include cooked dry beans, peas, and lentils, whole-grain breads and cereals, and spinach. Some cereals and soy products have added vitamin B12 and whole grains, cooked dry beans, tofu, seeds, and nuts are full of zinc. It may also be a good idea to ask your health care provider if a vitamin and mineral supplement may be a good idea.
Question: How can our family stay active when the cold weather hits this winter?
Answer: There are plenty of ways to stay active both inside and outside when it is cold outside. Indoors, you can create an obstacle course, dance to music or exercise tapes, act out a story, or prepare some healthy snacks. Outdoors, enjoy playing in the leaves before the snow hits or play in the snow by sledding or making snow angels. You can also take a hike , ride bikes, or horseback.