Summer nutrition is a family affair

| July 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Hannah M. O’Steen, Army News Service

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — School is out for the summer, and that means more meals are being made at home.

This summer, try new recipes with your children and even have them help in the kitchen to encourage healthy eating choices.

MyPlate guidelines suggest filling half your plate of food with fruits and vegetables. (Sarah Pacheco, Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

MyPlate guidelines suggest filling half your plate of food with fruits and vegetables. (Sarah Pacheco, Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

Summertime is full of all types of yummy foods. However, some foods found during the summer are healthy; others are a nutrition disaster. Remember, all foods can still fit into a healthy diet in moderation.

Keep in mind also that children have very observant eyes and watch everything going on around them, which is why it is very important to make sure you are the best role model with your eating habits. Healthy eating is a family affair.

Good nutrition starts with breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is often the hardest meal to get in because of competing priorities.

Twelve to 34 percent of children and adolescents regularly miss their morning breakfast. Yet, eating breakfast has been shown to give more energy, to give the body’s metabolism a boost and to improve concentration.

Throughout the rest of the day, meals and snacks should have variety, balance and moderation.

•Variety means a variety of colors, flavors and textures. Food should not be boring.

•It’s important to find the right balance between the calories you eat and the calories your body burns.

•Moderation means don’t overdo it.



Exercise and movement are key proponents to a healthy plan. We must keep our bodies moving and practice healthy eating habits.

Exercise doesn’t have to be formal and strict. Exercise could be anything from bicycling around the neighborhood to playing Frisbee with the dog. Exercise also can be walking the dogs, swimming or playing a Wii Fit. The goal should be to get out and move for 30 minutes, five days a week. Exercising as a family is a great way to get your children involved.

So how do we get children to make healthy eating choices? Some great ways to get children to eat healthier foods is to get them active in the decisions, active in the shopping, active in preparation and cooking, and then let them take the recognition.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a family garden also is a great way to keep children involved in the process, and this action helps them see where their food comes from. Most children will not turn down food they grow, picked out, prepped, cooked and served.

(Note: O’Steen works at Lyster Army Health Clinic, Fort Rucker, Ala., as a registered dietetic technician.)

Keiki Nutrition
For more information on children’s nutrition and recipes, visit

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Category: Army News Service, Community, Health

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