March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus on healthy eating and and proper nutrition. We’ve been sharing helpful tips from the USDA’s MyPlate program. For more on the MyPlate program and to find more healthy recipes, fun activities, and meal planning materials, go to www.choosemyplate.gov.
According to the USDA MyPlate Guide, the healthy number of calories a preschooler needs are:
|AGE||SEX||DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY||CALORIE LEVEL OF FOOD PLAN|
|2 yrs||Boys and Girls||Any level||1000 calories|
|3 yrs||Boys||Less than 30 minutes||1200 calories|
|30-60 minutes, More than 60 minutes||1400 calories|
|Girls||Less than 30 minutes||1000 calories|
|30-60 minutes||1200 calories|
|More than 60 minutes||1400 calories|
|4-5 yrs||Boys and Girls||Less than 30 minutes||1200 calories|
|30-60 minutes||1400 calories|
|Boys||More than 60 minutes||1600 calories|
|Girls||More than 60 minutes||1400 calories|
Getting Older Children Involved
You may need some patience when first getting your young chef familiar with the kitchen, but the long-term benefits will pay off as it provides a good opportunity to teach about healthy eating and the importance of sharing household duties.
Here’s a few tips from the MyPlate program to help get young chefs involved:
1.) Create a yogurt sundae!
Top plain, low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, like bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Sprinkle whole-grain cereal on top for crunch.
2.) Make pita pockets
Stuff a small whole-wheat pita with sliced bell peppers, salsa, and a slice of low-fat cheese. Melt in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
3.) Jazz up your favorite cereal
Make a trail mix! Stir 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, 1/4 cup of dried raisins or cranberries, and 1/4 cup of whole-grain cereal together.
4.) Make a fruit sandwich
Cut an apple into thin slices. Spread peanut butter or almond butter between two slices to create “apple sandwiches.”
5.) Dip your veggies
Create veggie treats by dipping slices of cucumbers, peppers, and carrots in a low-fat salad dressing or hummus.
6.) Pack an afterschool snack
For a healthy afterschool snack, keep a fruit cup packed in 100% juice or water in your bag. Some fresh fruit, like bananas and oranges, are also easy to pack and eat any time.
You don’t have to wait for a party to make these “party pinwheels.” The bite sized sandwich roll ups also make great snacks.
7.) Try a piece of cheesy toast!
Toast a slice of whole-wheat bread and top with a slice of your favorite low-fat cheese.
8.) Freeze your fruit
For a frozen treat on hot days, try freezing grapes or bananas! Don’t forget to peel bananas and pull grapes from the stem before freezing.
9.) Power up with ‘roll-ups’
Roll a slice of low-salt deli turkey or ham around an apple wedge or around a slice of low-fat cheese.
10.) Build a fruit salad
Mix your favorite sliced fruits such as pineapple, grapes, and melon.