Make "Five A Day" Your Good-Health Goal

Health experts recommend at least "five a day" - three servings of vegetables plus two servings of fruit daily - for both children and adults. Remember that what represents a serving is larger for adults than for young children. Let children determine their own portion size. Canned, frozen, or fresh fruits and vegetables are all good choices. Try serving raisins, seedless grapes, or canned peaches with tomorrow's breakfast for a good-morning start on five a day!

Vitamins C and A the Healthy Way

Here are some tips to be sure that your family gets enough of these important vitamins in the foods you eat.

Serve a fruit or vegetable rich in Vitamin C every day. Vitamin C helps every cell in the body grow and stay healthy, especially the skin, bones, and immune system, which fights illness.

Good Fruit Choices: Oranges, grapefruits, and other 100% citrus-fruit juices; kiwi; strawberries; and cantaloupe

When a Picky Eater Won't Eat...

"Eat your peas or no dessert!" is a common response to a mealtime standoff, but it can backfire. Pennsylvania State University researcher Leann Birch and colleagues found that forcing or bribing young children to eat does not work in the long run. It can increase children's dislike for the vegetable and reinforce their liking of dessert. Instead, ask the child to just taste the vegetable and then say no more. Fear of an unfamiliar vegetable can also decrease when a child has repeated opportunities to try it.

Remember that many young children are picky eaters. Your job is to provide a variety of healthful foods at every meal. Your child's job is to decide how much to eat and enjoy a mealtime gathering with the family.

Eating for a Lifetime

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published an update on the Dietary Guidelines For Americans. These guidelines promote dietary and physical strategies, which have been shown through scientific research to “help people attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.” The USDA then translated these recommendations to simple messages for the general public and developed a new icon called MyPlate .

A list of messages from follows. They are for ages 2 through adults.

To build a healthy plate at meals and snacks, aim for these goals:

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Make at least half your grains whole grains.

Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk.

Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals –and choose the food with lower numbers.

Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Avoid oversized portions.

Enjoy your food!

Thus, try these tips when preparing meals and snacks for young children:

Choose from fruits and vegetables of all colors to serve at meals and snacks.

Once your child is 2 year old, choose lower fat dairy foods such as 1% milk or low fat yogurt and ice cream.

Vary your protein foods by choosing not only lean meats, fish, and poultry, but also cooked beans (like baked beans), soy products, peas, nuts and nut butters (pick the lower salt varieties).

Pick whole grains by reading the label and seeing if at least one ingredient is a 100% whole grain.

Serve only 100% fruit juice in small glasses (once per day), then offer water or milk if your child is thirsty. The rest of fruit can be whole, frozen, or canned.

Offer small portions first and wait for your child to ask for seconds.

Offer favorite foods and unfamiliar foods, but always keep meal and snack time enjoyable for you and your child.

For more information on the Dietary Guidelines go to: dietaryguidelines.htm

For more details on MyPlate go to :