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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Six Tips That Encourage Your Family to Dine Healthy!

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With family members going in all different directions, we often all arrive home and hungry about the same time. Those of us with kids know they get impatient waiting for dinner and may spoil their appetites by nibbling on snacks.

  • Have healthy snacks ready to tide them over until the meal is on the table. For example, rather than serving milk with the meal, offer them some milk right away. Offer some low fat cheese sticks or light yogurt for a quick healthy snack.
  • Whole fruit such as apples or bananas with a tablespoon of peanut butter or raw veggies work well. For something new try pre-sliced apples dashed with cinnamon and a tablespoon of orange juice to keep them from browning. They’ll be more likely to snack on ready-made items. Pre-washed baby carrots and low fat dip are easily accessible. An extra advantage of these snacks is they take longer to eat than a cookie, crackers or chips. Your family is less likely to overload on foods that require chewing.
  • Set the table before everyone leaves for the day or have your child do it as an evening chore the night before . This saves another last minute task and provides a distraction for those waiting for dinner!
  • Assemble quick meals the night before, such as ready to heat casseroles. Add a quick cooking whole grain like couscous, a salad and/or fresh fruit, and you have a meal!
  • Keep low fat frozen cheese pizzas on hand and add a variety of your own colorful vegetable toppings.
  • Serve with a salad and fresh fruit.
  • Serve whole wheat quesadillas with melted reduced fat pre-shredded cheese with or without canned refried beans. Add cooked frozen vegetables and salsa to spice it up a bit.

These tips can work all year to help you stay the course on healthy eating and weight management. With busy schedules and so many temptations we need to plan ahead to stay on track!


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About the Author

Picture of Janice Baker, B.Sc., M.B.A., R.D., CDE, CNSC

Janice Baker, B.Sc., M.B.A., R.D., CDE, CNSC

Janice has been providing diet counseling and medical nutrition therapy since 1982, specializing in weight management, diabetes education, cardiac risk reduction and eating disorders. Janice is available as a personal nutrition consultant to help translate nutrition and diet recommendations into realistic lifestyle changes for long term weight loss and/or disease management. She values the benefits of physical activity as part of a total nutrition and wellness program, and has close working relationships with local physicians, physical therapists and other health care providers.

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