Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nutrition- Forget the pyramid AND the plate!

Easy way to teach your kids about nutrition when you know that all that is really important with kids is teaching them to eat their fruits and veggies.  So the simple trick is all about the rainbow.  Have one serving of rainbow everyday.

RED - SUGGESTIONS- what's inside the shell?  These could be tomatoes, beets, certain plums, cherries, cranberries, watermelon, strawberries, or apples.

ORANGE - SUGGESTIONS- outside of the obvious orange and other citrus members such as tangerines, tangelos, also choose cantaloupe,apricots, carrots, yams, mango, and pumpkin

YELLOW - SUGGESTIONS - beans, corn, pears, squash, peaches, pineapple, bananas, peppers, lemon, grapefruit, and onions.  Certain foods can be considered two colors- for instance bananas are yellow on the outside, but white on the inside, and that's OK.  And pears are yellow, red, brown, and green, and white on the inside.  It doesn't matter, just pick a color to "match" the criteria.

GREEN - SUGGESTIONS - these hardly need a suggestion because there are so many of them- but don't forget spinach, kiwi, beans, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, kale, honeydew, and grapes.  Lettuce and celery are nice snacks but have little nutritional value.  

AND WE'LL JUST COMBINE THE LAST RAINBOW TOGETHER. THE "BIV" part of the rainbow could mean eating 3 servings of any of these:  blueberries, raspberries, grapes, certain plums, eggplant. Those include your blue/indigo/violet.

An easy way to accomplish this is to add your 8 colors of the rainbow to some cracked ice, a can of frozen juice concentrate (one color) and a tablespoon of honey and cinnamon to your blender.

Keeping in mind that you should also get some calcium, protein, and carbohydrates, you could toss in a couple almonds or pecans, some yogurt, prunes or a handful of raisins.

Eating your veggies and fruits do not include "flavored" candies, gelatins, kool aid, gummies, otter pops, jellies, puddings, ice creams, or sorbets.  Although we do not want to say that you can not have deserts; these should not be counted as the rainbow nutritional values.

Often, when the kids are little, I made copies of a coloring book page of the rainbow, and had them fill in what they actually eat so they could keep it straight.  I also had them fill in the "white" space with something white like cauliflower, mushrooms, banana, apple, onion.

I also explain that the smoothie is how you get to eat meat later in the day. And eating meat can mean a desert.  So forget the food pyramid and the food plate- they are too complicated and hard to remember.