March is National Nutrition Month! Children benefit greatly from a healthy diet, and eating right can even help prevent health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Did you know that most youth still don’t meet the daily recommendations for fruits and veggies? And that empty calories and fat from soda, fruit drinks, desserts, and whole milk make up almost half of daily calories for children 2-18 years old? (source: https://www.cdc.gov/
When you’re thinking of healthy snacks and meals for your child, don’t forget about yourself. A well balanced diet can protect against chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy diet includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low- or fat-free dairy products.
The USDA has a wonderful tool called Choose MyPlate that can help you explore healthy food and drink options, plan balanced meals, and provide suggestions for eating healthy on a budget.
Your child’s journey with food can also be used to grow and develop their speech and language skills. Use your time in the kitchen to develop hand-eye coordination, practice fine motor skills like breaking an egg, and follow step-by-step recipes. Delve into sensory play with items from the pantry (safe for the little ones to put into their mouths) or have your child describe what they smell, taste, and feel when they try new or different foods.
Check out our Facebook page for more nutrition tips throughout the month of March!