Making Meals Matter. Tips to feed 6-12 year olds. Healthy eating for your school-age child

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1 Making Meals Matter Tips to feed 6-12 year olds Healthy eating for your school-age child

2 Your child learns healthy eating from you. Your elementary- school child needs you to guide them and to model healthy habits. You can set a good example. Think about your daily eating and physical activity choices. Ask yourself these questions: YES NO Do I enjoy eating most of the foods I want my child to eat? Do I eat many fruits and vegetables every day? Do I make time to exercise most days of the week? Meals and snacks are important. Do you: YES NO Cook and serve family meals most days, instead of preparing different foods for your child and adults? Set regular times for meals and snacks? Eat a meal together as a family most days of the week? Serve low-fat milk with meals every day? Give your child healthy snacks like apples and milk instead of cookies, chips or fruit drinks? Limit your child s screen time (computer, TV) to less than 2 hours a day? Offer a variety of foods and allow your child to choose what and how much to eat? Encourage healthy choices when eating takeout or restaurant food? Did you answer Yes to most of the questions? Congratulations! You are setting a good example. What about your No answers? Look at your choices and see where you can be a better role model. Use this booklet to make sure that you are offering your child healthy choices. What are one or two changes you can make today? Alert: If you think that your child has a serious health or nutrition issue, check with your doctor or nurse. They may help you or send you to a dietitian, a professional who specializes in healthy eating. 2

3 Try to include these 5 food groups in most meals. Each meal should include a variety of foods from most food groups. If you miss a food group at meals, serve it as a snack. Milk + Calcium for strong teeth and bones Vitamin A for healthy eyes Fruit Vitamin C for healthy skin B vitamins and fiber for energy and growth Meat + Beans Protein and iron for strong muscles Extra foods to limit: Eat fewer cookies, candy, donuts, chips, french fries and bacon. Drink less soft drinks and sport drinks. They are often higher in calories and lower in nutrition. They often have added fats, sugar or salt. Let your child make choices. Your job is to put a meal on the table that includes foods from most of the food groups. Let your child pick which foods to put on the plate and how much to eat from the healthy foods you provide. Learn more at HealthyEating.org/Elem 3

4 Foods to help 6 to 12 year-olds grow up healthy. How to use this chart: 1. Put a check mark by the foods your child eats on most days. Be sure to count foods that are in dishes like burritos and sandwiches. 2. Count how many servings your child eats from each food group. 3. Answer the questions at the bottom of each column. 4. See below for an easy way to check serving sizes. Symbol Serving Size One fist 1 cup Palm 3 ounces Food Dry cereal, Milk, Yogurt,, Fruit Chicken, Beef, Fish, Pork Milk + Choose low-fat or fat-free most often. One serving is: 1 cup milk or yogurt 1 ½ ounces hard cheese Serve many kinds of veggies. Use fresh, frozen or canned. One serving is: 1 cup of raw or cooked 2 cups raw leafy greens 1 cup juice 4 Handful ½ cup Two fists 2 cups Thumb 1 tablespoon Pointer finger 1 ½ ounces Flat hand 1 slice Thumb tip 1 teaspoon Noodles, Rice, Oatmeal Salad Peanut butter Cheese Slice of whole-wheat bread Cooking oil, Mayonnaise, Butter, Sugar Learn more about portion sizes at HealthyEating.org/Elem Food group recommendations based on 1,800 calories. Milk String cheese Plain fat-free yogurt Low-fat cottage cheese Cheese: American, cheddar, Jack and Swiss Other milk products Does your child have enough a day? 2 ½ cups for ages 6 to 8 3 cups a day for ages 9 to 12 Lettuce, Spinach Peppers Broccoli Tomatoes Green beans Carrots Sweet potato Corn Avocado Other vegetables Does your child eat 2 ½ cups of a day?

5 You can help your child develop healthy habits for life. Help your child enjoy healthier meals with foods from the food groups by eating most meals at home and ordering carefully when eating out. Serve milk at meals and water throughout the day. Changes you can make to serve healthier meals and snacks. I will: Make most choices fruit, not juice. Serve fruit that is fresh, frozen or canned in its own juices, not in sugar. One serving is: 1 cup cut-up fruit 1 cup 100% juice ½ cup dried fruit Make half your grains whole grain, like brown rice or whole wheat. One serving=1 ounce 1 ounce (1 slice) bread 1 cup dry cereal ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or hot cereal Meat + Beans Go lean with protein. One serving=1 ounce 1 ounce meat, fish, poultry 1 egg ½ cup beans 1 tablespoon peanut butter ½ ounce nuts Berries Cantaloupe Orange Apple Grapes Raisins or other dried fruit Mango Banana 100 % Fruit juice Other fruits Does your child eat 2 cups of Fruit a day? Whole-grain bread Hot cereal or oatmeal Brown or white rice Pancake or waffle Corn tortilla Pasta Whole-grain cereal Crackers Other grains Does your child eat 6 ounces of a day? Beans: pinto, black Egg Tofu Shrimp and shellfish Peanut butter Tuna fish Lean Pork or ham, Chicken and turkey (white meat, no skin) Nuts and seeds Beef, lean Does your child eat 5 ounces of Meat + Beans a day? 5

6 Common questions and answers What should I do if my child is a picky eater? It s normal for children not to like all foods. It can take a long time before trying them. If your child doesn t like vegetables, offer with melted cheese, yogurt dip or hummus. What if my child doesn t eat much? Your child s food choices and amount eaten can vary day to day. Trust your child and keep offering healthy foods. A healthy child will eat enough. Don t push them to eat more or less. What if my child is overweight? Offer healthy food choices and set a good example by eating nutritious meals and being active as a family. If you are worried, talk to your child s doctor. What if we are vegetarian? Vegetarian choices that include milk products and eggs are fine for children. If eating plant foods only (a vegan diet), talk with a doctor, nurse or dietitian to make sure your child gets all the nutrients they need. What if my child has trouble digesting milk? Children who have trouble digesting milk, called lactose intolerance, can often drink up to one cup of milk with meals. Or offer other milk products that may be easier to digest: lactose-free milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. Balance food and physical activity Children need 60 minutes of daily activity and adults should get 30 minutes on most days. The benefits are the same for children and adults: Healthy bodies with strong bones and muscles Less stress and better sleep Higher grades and test scores and better mental skills It s more than exercise, it s play too. Children often do best if they have many short bursts of exercise and play, with rest in between. Try hula hooping, jumping rope or riding a bike or scooter. Limit all screen time, like TV, computer, smart phones and video games to give plenty of time to move. How can you encourage more physical activity? 6

7 Try these quick and healthy meal and snack ideas. Easy breakfast ideas for home or on the go. Try to include 3 or more food groups at breakfast. Kids who eat breakfast do better in school. Join your child for breakfast. Adults who eat breakfast manage their weight better. Cereal Yogurt with Fruit Egg Burrito : Milk : Banana : Cereal : Yogurt : Berries : Granola : Cheese : Red Pepper : Tortilla Meat + Beans: Egg Quick nutritious snacks. Snacks are small meals. Plan snacks that include 2-3 food groups. For example, enjoy a smoothie by blending mango, plain low-fat milk and ice. How can you improve your family s meals and snacks? with Dip Raisins, Peanut Butter and Celery Meat Dried Fruit and Nuts Meat Quesadilla Granola Bars and Cottage Cheese and Peaches 7

8 Do you feel too busy to cook? Remember: Try to include these 5 food groups in most meals. Milk Products Meat + Beans Get quick, healthy meals to the table. Serve family style meals. You set out all the ingredients for pasta or a salad. Each person puts together a plate. Serve sandwiches with a salad and sliced fruit. Make healthy eating fun. Kids learn by doing. Let your child help shop, prepare, serve and clean up after eating. Your child is more likely to try foods if helping to choose and make them. Plan ahead. Plan lunches and dinners using the 5 food groups. With your child, circle meals and snacks to have this week. Add foods from the food groups your child needs on Pages 4 and 5 to your shopping list. Baked Chicken and Broccoli Rainbow Pizza What will I do differently? : Cheese : Broccoli : Bread Meat: Chicken : Cheese : Broccoli : Pineapple : Pizza Crust Meat: Chicken This program aligns with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is one of many nutrition education resources offered by Dairy Council of California for students and adults to improve eating habits. For more information and additional resources, visit HealthyEating.org 2004 Dairy Council of California, rev 2013 X210/326,000/07-13/TOP

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