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2017 Aug

Healthy Mealtime Habits

Preschoolers love to copy what their parents do. They mimic your table manners, your willingness to try new foods, and your preferences. Take a break from the TV or phone and build healthy mealtime habits together.

You are the most important influence on your child. You can do many things to help your children develop healthy eating habits for life. Offering a variety of foods helps children get the nutrients they need from every food group. They will also be more likely to try new foods and to like more foods. When children develop a taste for many types of foods, it’s easier to plan family meals. Cook together, eat together, talk together, and make mealtime a family time!

1. Plan meals & snacks. Make time for three meals and one or two snacks every day. Offer choices from each food group—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein foods— throughout the day so your preschooler gets the nutrition he or she needs.

2. Make meals enjoyable. Eat meals with your children when possible. Let them help you prepare the meal. Talk about something that makes them laugh. Keep mealtime upbeat and stress free.

3. Combine two food groups in a snack. Pair sliced tomato with low-fat cheese or add nut butter to a whole-wheat mini bagel.

4. Keep things positive. Talk about the color, feel, or flavor of foods so they sound appealing to your preschooler. Discourage others from making negative comments about foods during meals.

5. Develop taste buds. When preschoolers develop a taste for many foods, it’s easier to plan meals. Keep in mind that it may take a dozen tries for a child to accept a new food.

6. Visit the market. Shopping can teach preschoolers about food and healthy eating—talk about where foods come from and how they grow.

7. Let children practice serving themselves. Include smaller cuts of fish or meat and offer small serving utensils so they get just enough during meals. Encourage them to ask for more if they are still hungry.

8. Beverages are important, too. Water helps to quench your preschooler’s thirst, and milk provides nutrients for growth. Offer water or fat-free or low-fat milk as beverage choices instead of sugary drinks.

9. Help them know when they are full. Encourage your child to stop eating when he or she is full rather than when the plate is clean. When your child is not interested in the meal, excuse him or her from the table.

10. Reward with attention, not treats. Rewarding children with sweet desserts or snacks may encourage them to think that treats are better than other foods. Comfort and reward with care and praise, not food.

Here are a couple recipes to make together this month:

Grilled Fish Tacos with Peach Salsa
Makes 4 servings • Prep time: 15 min. • Total time: 30 min.

For the salsa:
1 can (15.25 oz.) peaches, drained, rinsed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
1⁄4 red onion, finely chopped (about 1⁄4 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, rinsed, seeded and finely chopped (about 1 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. lemon juice

For the fish:
4 tilapia fillets (about 1 lb.)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1⁄4 tsp. all-purpose seasoning with pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed

• Make salsa. In medium bowl, stir together chopped peaches, bell pepper, onions, jalapeño, cilantro, and lemon juice; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
• Prepare fish. Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Using paper towels, pat fish dry; transfer to plate. In small bowl, stir together chili powder and seasoning. Rub fish with spice mixture to coat completely.
• Place fish on hot, greased grill grates. Cook, flipping once, until fish is opaque and flakes easily with fork, about 8 minutes. Thinly slice fish.
• To serve, fill each tortilla with 1⁄2 fish fillet and about 1/3 cup salsa.

Summer Corn Salad
4 fresh cobs of corn, husked
1 tsp.extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 tsp. all-purpose seasoning with Pepper
3 scallions, finely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
1⁄2 red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. GOYA Sazonador Total

• Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place each cob of corn on aluminum foil square. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Wrap foil around cob to enclose. Grill, turning occasionally, until corn is tender and charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
• Remove and discard foil. Stand cob upright on work surface. Using knife, cut corn kernels off cob; transfer to medium bowl. Stir in scallions, red bell pepper, cilantro, lemon juice and Sazonador Total until combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: www.choosemyplate.gov