Q: I keep seeing recommendations about cups of vegetables, but I’m confused about how many I should be eating. What about my kids?
A: If you’re like most adults, you should be aiming for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, as seen in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern from the Dietary Guidelines. This amount also holds for children ages 9 and older. Targets for children age 8 and under, are less – about 1 to 1.5 cups a day.
“Cups” of vegetables mostly refers to a portion equal to one measuring cup for raw or cooked vegetables. For lettuce, spinach or other raw leafy vegetables however, two cups count as a cup. A medium carrot, celery stalk and small pepper each count as half a cup. If you don’t want to measure, an average adult fist is a rough guide to a 1-cup portion. So you can aim for one to two fist-size portions of vegetables at lunch and dinner each day. Read more… “Health Talk: How many vegetables should I be eating? What about my kids?”
Getting your kids to eat fresh, whole foods could be as simple as getting a little creative in the kitchen! By using herbs and spices, you can alter the flavor profile of any food to satisfy the taste buds of the pickiest eater. Herbs add a burst of flavor and texture to any food, while spices can heat things up or simply add some complexity to a simple dish. The added benefit is that herbs and spices allow you to use less salt when cooking!
This is a huge perk for parents, because children 6 to 18 years old consume about 3,300 mg of salt per day, while the recommended amount is 2,300 mg or less. By preparing vegetable-based, savory snacks at home with herbs and spices, you’re helping to cut back on the amount of sodium they’re consuming from sweets and other processed choices. You’ll be doing yourself a favor, too, by cutting back on your own salt consumption. Plus herbs and spices are packed with phytochemicals that have health promoting properties!
Don’t eat the ice cream. Seriously, don’t eat that smooth, chocolaty ice cream. How much do you want ice cream now?
Many people will try this method of avoiding treats to improve their diet. Another common diet strategy is to eat more healthy foods. We know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. But how effective are these avoid and approach strategies for adopting a better eating pattern?