Kids Eating Healthy: Taco Tuesdays May Help

bigstock-Happy-Family-6692088Helping children eat a healthful diet can be a challenge. Yet when children develop good health habits they’re more likely to stick with those habits later in life. And that can mean lower risk for many cancers and other chronic diseases when they become adults.

For many families, between all their activities and having limited experience with quick, healthy food prep, sitting down to healthful family meal may seem more like a luxury than routine. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This past Tuesday, our monthly twitter chat focused on strategies and tips to help kids eat healthfully. Parents and registered dietitians weighed in on how they get their own families to eat healthy meals. Here are some ideas they shared:

1. Try theme meal nights: e.g. Taco Tuesday or Build Your Own Pizza Thursday.

It’s so much easier to prepare dinner if it’s already planned. For Taco Tuesday, all you need are the whole-wheat tortillas, beans, cooked chicken, chopped veggies and salsa. Put everything on the table and let everyone make their own. Continue reading

Report: Kids Eating Fewer Calories, Still Work to Do

With approximately one-third of US kids overweight or obese, a new government report finding that children of most ages are eating even slightly fewer calories overall is positive news, even if the dip is relatively slight.Boy drinking

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report found that overall caloric intake for most girls and boys ages 2 through 19 decreased over the 12-year period between two national health surveys. One survey was conducted over 1999–2000 then it was given again in 2009–2010.

Girls overall ate approximately 75 fewer calories; boys ate 150 fewer.

The report highlights the importance of healthy eating habits for kids. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. And excess body fat increases the risk of seven types of cancers, including post-menopausal breast, colorectal, and pancreatic.

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“Healthy” Girl Scout Cookies?

Did you know it was National Girl Scout Cookie Day last Friday? There are many months and days dedicated to specific issues, but this one caught my attention – and not for the right reasons.canstockphoto5469124(1)

Full disclosure – I am a mother of a girl scout and, as such, a co-peddler of cookies. I have served my time knocking on doors in January, encouraging weary little feet to try just one more street and teaching an elementary age scout to accept “no-thank you” with grace and a smile.

We know Girl Scout Cookies are a treat; they are not low in fat, sugar or calories. I have struggled with the fact that selling lots of boxes provides the funds for the programs that benefit my daughter. We are respectful of people when they say – I’m watching my weight or need to cut down – and our own family order is modest. (Working here at AICR, I know that being overweight increases the risk of seven cancers and so it’s important for adults – and kids – to have healthy eating habits for cancer prevention and just overall good health.)

Our region had the standard menu of cookies this year, so I only learned on Friday that another cookie – with “health benefits” – was being offered in some parts of the country. The Mango Creme Cookie comes with a creme filling apparently enhanced with nutrients, which, according to the promotional blurb “offer the benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes and strawberries.” Continue reading