Koslo's Nutrition Solutions

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Your Kids Eat Right With Color

In my earlier post I focused on ways to put this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme “Eat Right with Color” into practice and in this post I want to share some tips that parents can use to make sure their children are eating healthy meals.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that kids (and adults) are deficient in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium and potassium. I also just read a report that most Americans aren’t even clear on which foods contain fiber. It showed that many people think that foods like meat and milk which have no fiber are good sources and 10% even thought water provided fiber (http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Many-Americans-mistaken-about-fiber-sources-finds-Kellogg-s). This really surprised me and reminded me that most people just don’t know what makes a healthy diet. So if we want healthy kids then there is a lot of work that needs to be done to educate parents on good nutrition so that they can make sure that their children are getting the nutrients that they need.

To this end I wanted to share a great new resource that The American Dietetic Association and its foundation just launched. It is a website called Kids Eat Right www.kidseatright.org that has a wealth of information for parents written by registered dietitians. The website includes articles, videos, practical tips, and recipes all designed to help families learn how to shop effectively and prepare healthy and wholesome meals. One video that stood out to me was cauliflower popcorn http://www.eatright.org/kids/video.aspx?id=6442462714

What a fun idea for kids! Check out the resources and see what you think. If you try a recipe or idea let me know how it worked.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March is National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month® and today is actually Registered Dietitian Day! Wahoo! I say that because I am a Registered Dietitian, and while I didn’t get the day off from work or anything I am still going to celebrate my profession in this post. National Nutrition Week started in 1973 in response to a growing interest in nutrition by the general public and by 1980 it turned into a month-long observance. Registered Dietitian Day was started just 4 years ago as a way to highlight the important work that nutrition professionals do.

So what is the theme this year? “Eat Right with Color”! For all of you visual learners out there this slogan should bring to mind bowls of red cherries, salads brimming with various shades of green from lettuces, broccoli, arugula, avocado, bell peppers; red from tomatoes, white from button mushrooms, orange from carrots, and maybe even some tans and darker colors contributed by sunflower seeds, black beans, and olives. While many of you are in locations where you have been seeing nothing but the white of snow and the brown of barren trees, your plate is one place that you can make festive by including a rainbow of foods that includes a palette of nutrients. I often tell my students to “eat from the rainbow” because it is a way to ensure that you get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, all of which are important for health and longevity.

Using the colors of MyPyramid is one way to incorporate recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and create a healthful eating plan. The bars each represent a different food group: orange is for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, blue for dairy, yellow for oils, and purple for meats and beans.

Here are some suggestions to brighten up your plate by using this color guide:
Green: Fruits: Kiwi, honeydew, lime, grapes
Vegetables: Broccoli, asparagus, peas, artichoke, leafy greens, edamame

Orange and deep yellow: Fruits: Cantaloupe, citrus, mango, pineapple, papaya
Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow corn

Red: Fruits: Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate, watermelon
Vegetables: Beets, red onions, red potatoes, rhubarb

Blue and purple: Fruits: Blueberries, blackberries, plums, raisins
Vegetables: Purple potatoes, eggplant, red cabbage

Tan, brown and white: Fruits: Banana, brown pear, white peaches, dates
Vegetables: Cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, white corn, white potatoes

Focusing on simple and practical ways to make positive changes to your diets is as easy as “Eating Right with Color”. By including a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy every day you will be getting a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer. So let the artist in you shine and use your palette to create a colorful plate!

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