Food and Nutrition

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Now Serving: Shopping for Family Meals - FN693

Enjoying more family meals takes a little planning, but it’s worth the effort. Children who eat with their families do better in school, are less likely to take part in risky behavior (such as smoking and drinking alcohol) and are less likely to have symptoms of depression. Children who eat more family meals have an overall healthier diet, compared with children who eat fewer family meals. They eat more fruits, vegetables, grains and calcium-rich foods, and they drink fewer soft drinks. Enjoy more family meals by taking some time to plan your menus and your shopping trips. Involve your family in menu planning, shopping, preparation and cleanup. Children can learn valuable life skills, such as cooking and communication skills, when helping in the kitchen. They learn to appreciate a variety of foods as they help plan and shop for meals.

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Now Serving: Nutritious After School Snacks - FN1379

Providing nutritious snacks doesn’t have to be expensive but you may need to do some planning to make them readily available for your child. Getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables can be difficult. Make snack time fun. For example, provide a variety of cut-up fruits and vegetables and let your kids create their own kabobs. You also may want to try serving vegetables with low-fat dip to make them more appealing.

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Now Serving: Lean Beef - FN711

Beef is a versatile menu item whether you’re cooking for one, two or a crowd. Beef provides protein, vitamins and minerals. A typical serving size for beef and other meat is 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards. A 3-ounce serving of lean ground beef has about 180 calories, 10 grams of fat and 15 percent of the daily recommendation for iron.

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Now Serving: Meals with Help from Teens - FN706

More children and teenagers are eating meals and snacks away from their home and family. Encouraging teens to help prepare food and clean up can help busy families manage their time. Teens learn important cooking skills and have fun, too. Cooking promotes creativity and helps teens form good eating behaviors that will last a lifetime.

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Now Serving: Meals with Help from Kids - FN705

An increasing number of children and teenagers are eating more meals and snacks away from their home and family. They may be choosing unhealthy ready-to-eat food options rather than spending time preparing a healthy snack or meal – and eating with their families. Encouraging children and teenagers to cook can build healthy lifestyle skills, creativity and healthy food choices. You also are helping them form good eating behaviors that will last a lifetime.

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Now Serving: More Calcium Rich Foods - FN697

Children who eat with their families are more likely to meet their calcium needs and drink less soda pop. That’s good news because children are building strong bones and need calcium and other nutrients as the building blocks. Teens have the highest calcium needs due to their rapid growth. Children who meet their calcium and other nutrient needs are less likely to get the bone- thinning disease osteoporosis when they grow older. Adults should meet their calcium needs to keep their bones strong throughout life. About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 18 million are at risk of getting it due to low bone mass. Even though osteoporosis often is associated with women, about 20 percent of those who suffer from it are male. Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures a year, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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Now Serving: More Whole Fruits and Vegetables - FN696

Family meals give parents/caregivers a chance to be good nutrition role models for children. Whether you’re sharing a meal at a park, in a car or at the family table, children who eat with their families eat a more nutritious diet. They eat more fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods. Shared meals give families a chance to reconnect and talk about the events of their day. Children can learn communication skills, manners and their families’ values as they share food. Sharing meals also creates memories that will last a lifetime. Keep mealtime pleasant and allow enough time to eat because children eat better in a relaxed setting.

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Now Serving: More Whole Grains - FN695

Children who eat more often with their families eat a healthier diet, including more grains, fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods. Grain foods, such as pasta, bread and rice, provide energy, vitamins and minerals. USDA’s MyPlate recommends that we make at least half our grains whole. The recommendations for grain foods are in “ounce equivalents.” Enjoy 3 or more ounce equivalents of whole-grain foods every day.

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Now Serving: Breakfast - FN694

Enjoying more family meals adds up to better nutrition, stronger family bonds and children who are less likely to participate in risky behavior. Be flexible with meal schedules and locations of your family meals. If evenings are too hectic, would a regular family breakfast work for you?

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Food Storage Guide Answers the Question . . . (FN579 Revised)

This publication provides handling tips and recommendations for storing food in your cupboards, refrigerator or freezer.

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