Healthy and Kid-Approved | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Healthy and Kid-Approved

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Kids love to make and enjoy their own snacks.

In 2010, first lady Michelle Obama initiated the "Let's Move!" Program to encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors for children. The initiative focuses on eating healthy and being active. The goal is to encourage the whole family to make small changes to achieve an overall healthy lifestyle.

Now is a great time to evaluate the eating habits of our own families and encourage our kids to eat healthier. This can be achieved by providing kids with kid-friendly alternatives to pre-packaged and processed foods. Here's how.

Provide kid-friendly meals and snacks to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
• Some good ideas are apple slices and yogurt dip, raisins, or carrot sticks and celery with low-fat ranch dressing.
• Kids can make their own trail mix by combining their favorite dried fruits, nuts and pretzels in a small Ziploc bag.
• Add vegetables such as broccoli florets or bell pepper slices to pasta dishes like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese.
• Save candy and sugary snack bars for special treats and not as everyday snacks.
• Top whole-wheat frozen waffles with low-fat yogurt or cream cheese and fresh fruit to make breakfast pizzas.

Whole fruits and vegetables are healthier than juices and sugary drinks.
• Choose juices with no sugar added, and limit the number of juice drinks your children are allowed to drink during the day.
• Encourage the kids to drink water during snack time.

Parents can reduce fat in their children's diet in a variety of ways.
• Serve kid-friendly chicken fingers baked, instead of fried, with homemade dipping sauces.
• Use lean ground beef for hamburgers.
• Serve fruit-based desserts like sorbet and mini fruit tarts instead of cookies and pre-packaged snack cakes.

Get the kids involved.
• Go shopping together and let the kids help pick out fresh produce.
• Kids are great at snapping green beans, tearing up lettuce or measuring frozen vegetables.
• Kids can also stir in seasonings and herbs to add their own special touch to homemade applesauce or mashed potatoes.

Websites with kid-friendly recipes and healthy snacks:
http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org
http://www.letsmove.gov
http://www.foodchamps.org

For more mouth-watering treats and tasty eats, chow down over at our Food Blog and the JFP Bite Club Facebook page, and follow the aroma on Twitter. Be sure to bring your appetite!

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