Obesity in children has increased in recent years, meaning conditions like high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are no longer just for adults.
Prevention of overweight and obesity in children is an important strategy for combating and reversing the obesity epidemic in our country.
Children and adolescents are encouraged to maintain a calorie balance that supports normal growth and development without promoting excess weight gain. Many children, adolescents and adults have a usual daily calorie intake that exceeds their needs and are not physically active enough to burn the extra calories leading to weight gain.
The best way to help children achieve a healthy weight is to teach them how to make healthful food choices from each of the food groups in MyPlate, including fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy, and to teach them how to be more physically active.
Serving lower-fat and lower-sugar foods and replacing sugared beverages with water are examples of making healthier choices. A squeeze of lemon, lime or orange can be added to water if desired. Skim milk is another great option and can be served plain or pureed in a blender with frozen fruit to make a wonderful smoothie. Adults should be a good role model for children be seen making healthful food choices and being physically active. Enjoy physical activities together.
One source of excessive calories for many children is high-calorie and nutrient-poor snacks. Another is too large of portion sizes.
The beginning of a new school year is a great time to promote healthier snacking for children. Most children are hungry when they arrive home from school. There is nothing wrong with a snack and it is a great way to supplement meals with extra nutrients. However, choosing healthful snacks in reasonable portions is important in choosing snacks.
Plan snacks from foods in one or more of the food groups in MyPlate but in smaller amounts than for meals. The size of a snack should be enough to satisfy hunger but not too much to spoil the appetite for the next meal. Here are some simple, fun and nutritious snack ideas that can be enjoyed by children but are suitable for any age group.
Keep a bowl of fresh fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes or other favorite fruits in the refrigerator ready to eat so children can select their own for a snack. Do the same with cut-up raw vegetables in containers in the refrigerator.
Egg salad in a cone
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons light Miracle Whip
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 8-inch whole wheat tortilla
2 large green leaf lettuce leaves
2 decorative toothpicks
• Place eggs in a small pan and cover with water. Heat water to medium on stove and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook eggs for about 12 minutes.
• Pour water out of pan and remove 1 egg with a large spoon. Place under cold running water for a few seconds and then crack the shell and remove it. The shell should come off easily. If it doesn't, hold it under running cold water a few more seconds. Repeat with the other egg.
• Place peeled eggs in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add Miracle Whip, salt and pepper and stir to mix.
• Cut tortilla in half with a sharp knife. Place one lettuce leaf on each tortilla with the curved frilly part of the leaf extending about a quarter of an inch above the curved edge of the tortilla.
• Bend the straight edge of the tortilla in the middle and overlap one side with the other to form a cone with the lettuce leaf inside the cone. Spoon half of the egg salad in each tortilla cone like putting ice cream in an ice cream cone. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the other tortilla half.
Learn with Lunch
Becky will teach Learn with Lunch featuring Peaches and Cream Smoothies and Florentine Scrambler Wraps at noon Tuesday at the Gourmet Grille at Buy For Less, 2500 N Pennsylvania Ave. Class size is limited. Call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.