Making it Easier for Kids to Eat Whole Grains

Research shows many reasons why it’s important for kids to eat a diet rich in whole grains. Whole grains can help your kids – and you – maintain a healthy weight. And as your kids become older, whole grains can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and diet-related cancers.Wheat ears in the child hands

Recent research that I have collaborated on through the CHANGE Study suggests that children who ate more than 1.5 servings of whole grains every day had a 40 percent less risk of being obese than children who did not consume whole grains.

Yet only about 5 percent of American adults and children eat the recommended servings of whole grains every day and not all whole-grain products are good or excellent sources of dietary fiber. There are a lot of positive developments in what food companies and others to help kids get more whole grains. But there is still more progress that we can make in three main settings.

Marketplace: Changes made by food companies that have reformulated ready-to-eat breakfast cereal products, combined with new school nutrition policies and healthier meals served at home, will collectively make it easier for children to consume the recommended three servings of whole grains every day. Continue reading


Make Healthier Desserts with Your Kids: 7 Tips

This holiday season teach your kids how to bake healthier desserts without compromising taste.

The CDC shows kids today consume an excessive amount of sugar, with teens ages bigstock-Family-Baking-401599014-18 trumping all other age groups with an intake of about 34 teaspoons a day. The roughly 550 calories those teens consume each day provide no nutritional benefit for cognitive and physical development, and potentially may be harmful. Young children are not trailing too far behind, either. Kids ages 4 to 5 consume on average about 17 teaspoons a day.

Get your kids in the kitchen! They won’t refuse to help out when preparing desserts. Use the time cooking together as an opportunity to teach basic math to little ones or organizational skills to older kids. Cooking also teaches kids about self-sufficiency, a life long skill with the potential to increase their health as adults.

Here’s 7 tips for making healthier desserts. Continue reading


Halloween Candy, the Aftermath

dreamstime_xs_26875681When all the Halloween hype is over and you’re left with pounds of candy, how do you get rid of excess candy and take away the temptation for kids to overindulge? We, at AICR, have found some thoughtful and creative ways to rid your pantry of the excess candy Halloween leaves behind:

  1. Donate leftover candy to programs like Operation Shoebox, which take candy donations and send them overseas to deployed troops. I’m sure a trick-or-treat bag would really brighten the days of some of our hardworking soldiers.
  2. Your local dentist may be participating in Operation Gratitude’s Halloween Candy Buy Back Program. Dentists hold events where cash, coupons, toothbrushes, services or creative exchanges are options for candy buy backs.
  3. Also think about your students. Toss a couple pieces of candy among other things in a box and send it to your stressed college student to let them know you are thinking about them. Being that I am only a year out of college myself, I understand the appreciation for this gesture. In college, there is nothing like receiving an unexpected package with goodies and reminders of home!
  4. Consider using leftover candy for art projects such as gingerbread houses, Christmas is quickly approaching, as well as other holiday arts and crafts.
  5. For those of you with family members who have birthdays around this time of year, throw a couple pieces of leftover Halloween candy in party favor bags instead of buying new. You could also use it to fill a piñata.
  6. Throw leftover M&M’s into homemade trail mix for a sweet component.
  7. Lastly, for you parents, after all the Halloween hysteria dies down and candy has been dealt with, grab those dark-chocolate pieces the kids won’t eat – you too deserve a small treat after all of your hard work.

 

Happy Trick-or-Treating!!