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Healthy Kids - March

March Spotlight for Healthy Kids: Nutrition

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Kids and Nutrition

When it comes to kids’ health, it’s pretty easy to rattle off some of the well-known requirements such as getting exercise, wearing sunscreen, and keeping sugar consumption down as well as one can among the holidays, birthday parties, and grandparent visits. However, did you know that nutrition is the foundation to kids’ health?

If you are like many busy families who are juggling work, kids’ activities that require you to be in 2 places at once, and many of the other demands of being a parent, then keeping up with out of date food pyramids and nutrition suggestions that change with the wind is as likely as a cool Texas day in July.

Regardless of the newest trend in nutrition (to eat the egg or to not eat the egg?), here are two basic nutrition rules to help you simplify your grocery shopping experience:

  1. Try to do most of your shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store. This keeps you in the fresh foods sections such as the fruit and vegetable aisle, the meat and seafood department, and the dairy section. Shopping the perimeter helps you stay away from the processed, filler foods that are high in calories, fat, sodium, and unnatural chemicals, but low in nutrition.
  2. When it comes to cereals, stop looking at the large print on the front of the packaging. Instead look at the first couple of ingredients. If they read “whole grain” or “whole oats,” throw it in the basket. If they read ”sugar,” gently place the box back on the shelf and briskly walk away.

This table from Nutrition.gov sums up a healthy shopping list and details where you are likely to find the most nutritious foods.

Food Group Typical Store Location(s) Best Choices
Fruits Produce Aisle
Canned Goods
Freezer Aisle
Salad Bar
Variety! Fresh, Frozen, Canned and Dried Fruits.
Vegetables Produce Aisle
Canned Goods
Freezer Aisle
Salad Bar
Pasta, Rice & Bean Aisle
Variety! Fresh, Frozen and Canned (especially dark green and orange). Dry Beans and Peas.
Grains Bakery
Bread Aisle
Pasta & Rice Aisle(s)
Cereal Aisle
Whole Grains for at least half of choices.
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
(calcium-rich foods)
Dairy Case
Refrigerated Aisle
Non-Fat and Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Low-Fat and Fat-Free Cheeses
Meats and Beans,
Fish, Poultry, Eggs,
Soy and Nuts (protein foods)
Deli
Meat & Poultry Case
Seafood Counter
Egg Case
Canned Goods
Salad Bar
Lean Meats, Skinless Poultry, Fish, Legumes (dried beans and peas), Nuts.

Water

All this being said, the absolute healthiest thing you and your family can consume, does not require an errand to the grocery store, rather it comes out of your tap. Water! Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues (www.mayoclinic.com). So make sure you and your family are getting plenty of this precious liquid and that it is not being replaced by high calorie liquids such as sodas, fruit drinks, or sport drinks. Your bodies will thank you!

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Last updated: 4/2/2014 5:36:56 PM