Friday, November 7, 2014

My Colorful Plate & Young Children: Encouraging Healthy Food Choices

In recent years the United States Department of Agriculture has moved from the Food Pyramid to MyPlate to help guide our portions and food choices. MyPlate is a new generation icon that prompts consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups (  

This guide and the resources below can be helpful, yet you might wonder how this all plays out at meal and snack times. If you are a parent, you know all too well! You might hear things like,"I don't eat broccoli! The salad is too crunchy! I won't eat that without ranch dressing! Brussel sprouts, blah!" These comments are all happening along with crumpled faces, hand gestures, and emotions that make for a stressful meal. So, what can we do? 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. However, some of these suggestions may help your young eaters choose healthier options.

Allow time for preparing healthy meals and snacks together. Use this time to discuss healthy options, why some foods are better for your body than others, and how foods can affect how we feel. 

Make healthy food preparation fun and engaging. Cut your sandwiches in the shape of a butterfly. Add pretzel stick antennae and cran raisin spots! What creature will you make for your next snack?

Prepare healthy snacks or parts of a meal ahead of time and store in the freezer. Pancakes and muffins loaded with blueberries, bananas, nuts or other healthy ingredients can be warmed quickly and carried along if you are in a rush! 

Register for a DuPage Children's Museum S.M.A.R.T. Cafe Series Creativity Class. Try one of DCM's Creativity Classes to encourage the young ones in your life!

USDA Choose My Plate: Healthy Eating and Super Tracker Nutrition Lessons 

This article also published in Positively Naperville--a local, reader supported, monthly newspaper published in Naperville, Illinois.Positively Naperville has been supported by a great group of local businesses, organically growing four pages at a time since it was first printed issue in September 2001.

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