|Green is a good thing. Even if it’s not a four leaf clover.|
But the whole month is a celebration for eating right because March is National Nutrition Month!!!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics serves up heaping helpings of advice on food, nutrition and cuisine. This year’s theme is Eat Your Way, Every Day!
|It’s all about you!
A personalized approach to nutrition advice is the most successful plan. Take snacking, for instance.
Snacking between meals, whether it’s mid-morining or mid-afternoon is a way of life in the USA. As dietitians we like to say, “Make your snack count!” Choose healthy snacks that serve up good taste and good nutrition.
A lot of families are ramping up their snack attack because Spring sports are starting!
|He’s safe! Because his parents packed healthy snacks in his sports bag.|
If your kids need to snack after school on their way to sports practice or after practice to tide them over until dinner – then you might need a bit of coaching to help choose the healthiest snacks.
|Snacks can help fill in nutrient gaps when you choose foods rich in calcium, fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
That’s easy if you like granola bars with a carton of milk. Or baby carrots in a plastic bag to go.
I’m thrilled to be working with Sunbelt Bakery to get the good word out on healthy snacking for families. The best news is that the right snack can not only be good for you – it tastes good and is ready to be on the go with your busy schedule. The granola bars in the photo below are one of my faves- chocolate chip! At only 140 calories each, they’re just the right portion size too. Their whole grain goodness comes from whole grain oats. Pair with a cup of low fat or fat free milk and you’ll add 8 grams of high quality protein to your snack break, too.
Meanwhile, back at Spring training…….kids are on the move and need fuel and fluids to keep them going. Water is great of course but fruits and vegetables provide good hydration, too.
Think of snacks as mini-meals with what I call a “Tasty Snack Trio” including:
Protein foods (cheese, milk, yogurt, hard boiled egg, slice of turkey or ham)
Whole Grain foods (whole wheat crackers, granola cereal on yogurt, granola bars )
Garden foods ( fruits, vegetables) TIP: always cut up fruit so it’s easier to eat. Apple slices will disappear while the whole apple may go uneaten. I love those pre-cut carrot chips in the supermarket produce section too!
|Carrot chips and a 1/4 cup portion of hummus is perfect on the go sports snack for kids.|
|Tasty Snack Trio: protein in hummus, whole grain crackers and veggies.|
So how much is enough for a snack? Well, it depends on the age of the child and how active they are. Generally, I like to recommend about 150 calories for snack occasion. That places granola bars right in the sweet spot! Add a handful of grapes or easy-to-peel clementine orange ( which are in season right now! ) and you’re good to go. Game on!
|Healthy snacks help kids win by fueling their bodies with good nutrition and energy they need.|
|Dietitians and Moms, Liz and Janice have lots of sporty ideas for good nutrition!|
Note on sports drinks: Make sure to read the nutrition facts label. They can contain just as many calories as a soft drink. They are not for guzzling. One cup ( 8 ounces ) is enough to replace electrolytes in young athletes who are practicing or competing rigorously. Still thirsty? Drink some more water. Carolyn O’Neil
|Make ahead to makeover easy sports night dinners!|
Liz Weiss, MS, RD and Janice Bissex, MS, RD are the dietitian duo behind the popular website,MealMakeoverMoms.com and authors of, No Whine with Dinner: 150 Healthy, Kid-Tested Recipes from The Meal Makeover Moms (M3 Press, 2011)
What about Dessert Mom?!
Crunchy Granola Fruit Bake is an EZ dessert for a busy school plus sports night. Place frozen blueberries ( you can use fresh but frozen are nutritious and ready when you are) in a baking dish, top with Sunbelt granola cereal and bake for 20 minutes. Top with frozen yogurt. Yum!