Now Serving: Tasty, Healthful Meals on a Budget Week 5: Time-saving Tips, Menus and Recipes - FN1387
In today's busy world, cooking a meal completely from scratch may be difficult. However, convenience foods usually cost more and may be higher in calories, fat and sodium. This is the fifth in a series of publications to help you eat well but spend less at the grocery store. It includes time-money-saving tips and sample menus with recipes that you can adapt to meet your family's tastes.
Salsa continues to grow in popularity. While most people think of salsa as a spicy tomato-based sauce, it also can be made from various fruits.
Whether warming bottles or solid foods, it is ALWAYS important to use safe heating practices to keep your baby happy and healthy. Although you may be an expert at feeding your little one, remember that babysitters and family members may not know how to heat bottles and food correctly. Leaving complete instructions in a handy location, such as on the refrigerator door, may help you and the caregiver feel comfortable and relaxed come feeding time.
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.
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.
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.
Family meals promote family togetherness. Family meals provide a time to share what is going on in each other’s lives and enjoy a nutritious meal. Families who eat together are more likely to have more balanced meals. Preparing the meal is an important part of mealtime. Have children help in every aspect of the preparation, from choosing the menu to setting the table to making the meal. Including children in the preparation can lead to lifelong knowledge and memories.
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.
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.
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.