March is National Nutrition Month and a great time for parents around the country to take stock of what they are doing with their children nutritionally. Most of us have some room for improvement, even if we do live in busy times that sometimes call for desperate fast food measures. The good news is that there are some simple things parents can do to help boost their children’s nutritional intake, the better to help keep them healthy, as well as lay the foundation for a healthy nutrition future.
“Parents have many food choices today when it comes to feeding their children,” explains Jolly Backer, the chief executive officer of Fresh Healthy Vending (www.freshvending.com). “Walk through the store or drive down the road, and the options are there in abundance. But many parents are beginning to seek out the healthy option today, which is wonderful.”
Here are 5 nutritional tips every parent should consider:
Limit the snacks. Children who fill up on a lot of calories from snacks eat less at meal times, and usually the snacks are not all that nutritious. Limit the calories that come from snacking, and offer snacks that are healthy, such as a sliced apple with peanut butter, or vegetables they can dip into hummus.
Eat more fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables offer a lot of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. In addition to including some in snacking, aim to make fruits and vegetables half of their plate at mealtime.
Watch the sugar. Added sugars fill kids up with empty calories or those that don’t offer any nutritive value. Pay attention to the amount of sugar that is in food and how much they are consuming. Ideally, children should not have more than 12 grams (3 teaspoons) of added sugar daily (added sugar being that which is not there naturally in such foods as fresh fruit). This goes for both food and beverages.
Avoid the clean plate club. Many parents try to get their children to clean their plate by eating all the food on it. Problem is, children are in tune with their body cues and tend to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. When parents make them eat everything on their plate, they teach them to ignore their hunger cues, which can potentially lead to obesity problems later on. Ideally, parents should start with small amounts of food on the plate, so it’s not so overwhelming.
Model healthy eating. One of the most important tools in getting kids to eat healthily is to model that behavior. Children who have parents who eat healthily tend to grow up eating in a more healthy way themselves.
“At first, it may be a challenge to get kids on board with healthy eating,” adds Backer. “However, once you have been doing it a while, they will grow accustomed to it and it will become second nature. Whether at home, school, or on the go, people no longer have to compromise when it comes to making healthy food choices.”
Fresh Healthy Vending has created a healthy vending machine revolution. Their machines are all stocked with healthy foods, including drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and granola bars, yogurt, and baked chips and crackers. Their machines are located in over 600 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including hospitals, office buildings, military bases, and workout facilities. Each dual-climate-controlled machine offers only healthy food and beverage options. To learn more Fresh Healthy Vending machines, visit their site at: www.freshhealthyvending.com.
About Fresh Healthy Vending
Based in San Diego, Fresh Healthy Vending is a company that started in 2010 and is revolutionizing vending machines by filling them with healthy, natural food options. Dubbed the “future of vending,” they are leading the way in healthy food vending. Their machines offer 100-percent juices, fresh vegetables, fruits, smoothies, and yogurts. The Fresh Healthy Vending machines are franchised and are being placed in schools, offices and other locations throughout the country. To learn more about Fresh Healthy Vending, visit the website at www.freshvending.com.
*This article first appeared on The Healthy Moms Magazine on March 5, 2012