ABC'S OF NUTRITION
SNACKS FOR KIDS
KIDS CAN COOK!
KID FRIENDLY RECIPES
RESOURCES

kid's zone

Who doesn't want to raise healthy kids and give them the best possible start in life?! That's why nutritionist Keri Glassman, a mom herself, has created this guide to making sure your little ones live a Nutritious Life. Here, she's collected her best advice for serving them healthy meals, making sure they get the nutrients they need for maximum energy, great recipes to make - the kids can help!

ABC's of NutritionRead More

Want to make sure your little ones get a healthy start that will serve them well during these key growth years? Read the ABCs of Nutrition for wise advice.

You know that adequate nutrition is vital to keep your kids' growth and health on track. But that doesn't mean they need more, more and more food. Yes, children's growing bodies need more nutrients than adults relative to their size, but their diets shouldn't provide excessive calories and cause them to gain an inappropriate amount of weight. Overall, about 50-60% of a child's calories should come from carbohydrate sources, 25-35% of calories should come from fat, and the rest (10-15% of calories) should come from protein. Just like the diets of all family members, children's diets should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, low fat dairy products, whole grains and healthy fats. That said, focus most on the following nutrients--think of them as health MVP's--and make sure they are a part of your little one's diet.

What they need:

Iron: Iron is one of the most important nutrients for a growing child, as it is needed to transport oxygen throughout the body. Without enough iron, the body won't be able to get the amount of oxygen it needs for optimal functioning.

  • Amount needed: 1-3 years, 7 mg; 4-8 years, 10 mg; 9-13 years, 8 mg; 14-18 years, 11 mg for males, 15 mg for females
  • Good sources: lean beef, eggs, fortified cereals/baby cereals, spinach, wheat germ, and dried apricots. Need an interesting way to get your child to eat it? Try mixing wheat germ into a batch of cookie batter when baking!

Calcium: Throughout childhood and adolescence, calcium is the "building block" for strong and healthy bones. It is essential that your child gets enough calcium during the early years, to assure that they are starting their adulthood with the strongest bones possible!

  • Amount needed: 1-3 years, 500 mg; 4-8 years, 800 mg; 9-13 years, 1300 mg; 14-18, 1300 mg
  • Good sources: low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as broccoli, kale and tofu. Want to double up your child's intake? Make a yogurt dip for broccoli!

B Vitamins: The B vitamins promote growth and development as well as are essential to energy metabolism. B vitamins are needed for many processes in the body-make sure to get these in!

  • Amount needed: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 1-3 years, .5 mg; 4-8 years, .6 mg; 9-13 years, .9 mg; 14-18 years, 1.2 mg for males, 1 mg for females Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1-3 years, .5 mg; 4-8 years, .6 mg; 9-13 years, .9 mg; 14-18 years, 1.3 mg for males, 1 mg for females Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 1-3 years, 6 mg; 4-8 years, 8 mg; 9-13 years, 12 mg; 14-18 years, 16 mg for males, 14 mg for females Vitamin B6: 1-3 years, .5 mg; 4-8 years, .6 mg; 9-13 years, 1 mg; 14-18 years, 1.3 mg for males, 1.2 mg for females Vitamin B12: 1-3 years, .9 mg; 4-8 years, 1.2 mg; 9-13 years, 1.8 mg; 14-18 years, 2.3 micrograms
  • Good sources: For vitamin B6, serve up eggs, milk, oatmeal, bananas, wheat germ, chicken, beef and fish. And for vitamin B12, some powerhouses are milk, eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, and fish. Want to give your children a power packed dinner? Make baked chicken with a coating of whole-grain bread crumbs and wheat germ! Your child can get another key B vitamin, folate, from spinach, beans, fortified cereals and bread, and dark leafy green vegetables.

Zinc: Zinc is needed to give a "jumpstart" to the enzymes that control the division and growth of cells as well as for protein synthesis. Zinc is an extremely important mineral for children, but is often low in their diets, and deficiency is often overlooked. If a child is deficient, their growth can be permanently stunted. Zinc deficiency can also cause a decrease in appetite, changes in taste sensations, and poor wound healing.

  • Amount needed: 1-3 years, 3 mg; 4-8 years, 5 mg; 9-13 years, 8 mg; 14-18 years, 11 mg for males, 9 mg for females
  • Good sources: lean beef, turkey, dark chicken meat, egg yolk, yogurt, milk, fortified cereals, whole-wheat bread, beans and peas. Need to sneak some extra zinc into your child's diet? Make a healthy pot of chili with ground turkey and tons of beans. Toast some whole-wheat tortillas and serve them on the side!

Fiber: Fiber is a very important part of a healthy diet. It helps in keeping kids small belly's full as well as in curbing constipation. Diets high in fiber have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease later in life, so get your kids in the habit of going for fiber-rich foods now! A rule of thumb to estimate your child's fiber needs is "age +5 grams". So, if your child is 5 years old, they need at least 10 grams of fiber per day, while a 7 year-old child needs at least 12 grams per day, etc.

  • Good sources: If your child eats an appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables and whole grains for their age, they are most likely getting the amount of fiber that they need. Other ways for kids to get fiber are from whole grains, beans and nuts!

Water: Just like adults, children need to consume adequate water for optimal functioning! They should have 6-8 glasses each day-more in warm weather and/or if they are exercising. Even being slightly dehydrated can have effects on a child's health, well-being, performance and learning. Is your child not drinking enough? Go shopping with him/her for a fun new water bottle for them to carry around!

Foods to avoid

Caffeine: Not only will this stimulant affect your child's nervous system and other tissues but it may also decrease his or her absorption of calcium and iron.

Large amounts of high nitrite foods: Foods such as hot dogs, ham, and bologna contain nitrites (chemical preservatives), which are converted into carcinogenic (or cancer-causing) compounds in the body. Make these foods "sometimes foods" to avoid these compounds building up in your child's small body!

Honey, nuts, cow's milk, egg whites for children under age 1: These are fine after your child's first birthday in most cases, but before then steer clear to avoid possible allergic reactions. It's worth noting that many parents are waiting until a child is 2 or 3 years old before letting them eat tree nuts and peanut butter (some pediatricians even recommend waiting to age 4 if there are food allergies in the family). Infants under 1 year of age should not have milk or any milk products because of the possibility of a milk allergy. Choose either breast milk or formula for these little guys! For children ages 1 to 2, whole milk is best --growing bodies and developing brains need the fat that whole milk provides! After age 2, it's recommended that kids switch to low fat or fat free milk. By this time they are getting enough fat from other sources in their diets, and don't need the saturated fat that whole milk provides.

Trans fats: Trans fats are the "bad fats" that increase the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as increase the risk of having a stroke. According to experts, there is no safe limit of consumption of trans fats, and children's diets should contain as little as possible. This type of fat is commonly found in margarine, fried foods and baked goods. Check your food labels to make sure your children's foods contain 0 grams of trans fats on the nutrition panel. Double check the ingredient list to make sure "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated" oils are not listed--these also mean the product contains these harmful fats!

Other tips

Obesity: Childhood obesity is clearly a growing problem in our country. But what should you do if your child is overweight or obese? The most successful interventions have been those that include the entire family with physical activity as well as dietary modifications (but nutrient needs for growth and development still need to be considered!). Behavioral changes and nutrition education also help in managing your child's weight. For more information, check these websites: From the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org/healthtopics/overweight.cfm and from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.smallstep.gov/kids/flash/index.html.

Choking risks: Children under 4 are at greatest risk of choking. Hot dogs, grapes, raw vegetables, popcorn, peanut butter, nuts, and hard candy are foods most likely to cause choking. Remember, don't feed your children in the car, and make sure they sit down when they're eating (not running around!). These are good habits anyway, but will also lower their risk of choking.

Encourage breakfast! Your parents were right - it's the most important meal of the day! Not only will it make you feel good to send your child to school with something nutritious in his or her stomach, but it has been proven that school-aged children who skip breakfast perform worse on various cognitive tests than do those children who eat breakfast. Plus, you are in control of this meal unlike at lunch when you don't know what they are picking up from the cafeteria!

The verdict on snacking: Snacking is good for everyone-especially kids! Healthy snacks are the key to meeting their nutrient needs each day. Most kids need to eat every 2-3 hours to get in all the nutrients and calories they need to sustain adequate growth. Think of your kids' snacks as small meals. This means they should be just as nutritious as the rest of the food you give them throughout the day. When your child's tummy starts grumbling at 3PM, you can even use this as an opportunity to get in important nutrients that your child may come up short on in his or her meals. For example, if your child wasn't hungry at lunch and threw out half of his peanut butter sandwich, use his next snack as an opportunity to get in some protein. Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips, try offering a whole-wheat tortilla spread with some mustard, rolled up with 2 slices of turkey. A good general rule: When choosing snacks for your kids, look for foods that have no trans fat or saturated fat, are high in fiber and low in sugar.

TV and eating habits: Did you know that the average child sees more than 500 food references each week on television? And that there is a positive correlation between the number of hours of television kids watch and their weight? So get those kids out from in front of the television! They won't be seeing the commercials for "junk food" geared right at them, but they'll also be up, moving and active!

Snacks for KidsRead More

Kids and snacks go hand-in-hand. Keri has compiled a list of nutritious snacks for both At Home and On the Go.

On the go:

  • Whole grain crackers (Kashi Original Seven Grain TLC) with 50% reduced fat Cabot Cheddar
  • Seapoint Farms edamame packets
  • Santa Cruz apple sauce
  • Stoneyfield Farm smoothie
  • Tribe hummus snackers with sliced carrots
  • Cut up fresh apples and pears
  • Sliced turkey or ham deli meat on celery or cheese sticks
  • 1/2 a whole wheat pita with low-fat ricotta cheese, apple slices and cinnamon

For Home:

  • Mini Pizzas: Top mini whole wheat pita bread or whole wheat English muffin with marinara sauce (Colavita Enriched) and reduced fat mozzarella cheese. Toast until melted.
  • Apple fries with yogurt dip: Cut apples into thin slices ("fries"). Serve with plain low fat yogurt mixed with All Fruit or 2 tsp. natural peanut butter.
  • Fruit kabobs: Alternate pieces of cut up seasonal fruits and place on skewer. Drizzle with 1 tsp. wild honey.
  • Veggies and dip: Mix salsa with 2 slices of avocado and 1 oz. low fat cheese. Heat until cheese melts. Serve with baby carrots and other fresh veggies.
  • Cuppa Soup: 1/2 small cup of soup (vegetable, chicken or black bean) served with whole wheat crackers (Kashi TLC).
  • Sandwich Sushi: Whole wheat tortilla topped with turkey, mustard and veggies. Roll up and cut into slices ("sandwich sushi").
  • Trail mix: 3/4 cup whole grain cereal (i.e. Barbara's Puffins), 2 chopped dried apricots and 1/2 oz. chopped dark chocolate.
  • Home made cheese puffs: 1 slice of whole wheat bread with 1 slice of low fat cheese. Toast until crispy. Cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter!
  • Banana ice cream: Freeze ripe, peeled bananas. When slightly frozen puree into "ice cream" and top with chopped nuts.
  • Baked sweet potato chips: Slice sweet potato into thin, round circles. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt. Bake until crispy.

Kids can Cook!Read More

Keri Glassman shows you how to get your kids involved in cooking - and leading their own Nutritious Life!

This is where Keri Glassman shows you how to get your kids involved in cooking - and leading their own Nutritious Life! We've got an array of recipes that have been specially designed to have safe and simple steps that your little ones can handle.

So come have fun cooking with your kids: You'll help them learn new skills, taste new foods - and get comfortable in the kitchen. And you'll have yummy, delicious snacks and meals to show for it! For example, are apple French fries with peanut butter dip something your kids could resist?

Tips:

  • Organize your ingredients ahead of time
  • Have kids cut with safety scissors or plastic knifes
  • Have kids crack eggs into a separate bowl at first, so you can remove any shells before adding the eggs to the other ingredients
  • Expect a mess! Don't stress over spills. Use it as an opportunity to teach your kids that cleaning up is a part of cooking.

Recipes:

Kid Friendly RecipesRead More

An array of recipes that have been specially designed to have safe and simple steps that your little ones can handle.

Kids Friendly Recipes

This is where Keri Glassman shows you how to get your kids involved in cooking - and leading their own Nutritious Life! We've got an array of recipes that have been specially designed to have safe and simple steps that your little ones can handle. So come have fun cooking with your kids: You'll help them learn new skills, taste new foods - and get comfortable in the kitchen. And you'll have yummy, delicious snacks and meals to show for it! For example, are apple French fries with peanut butter dip something your kids could resist?

Tips:

  • Organize your ingredients ahead of time
  • Have kids cut with safety scissors or plastic knifes
  • Have kids crack eggs into a separate bowl at first, so you can remove any shells before adding the eggs to the other ingredients
  • Expect a mess! Don't stress over spills. Use it as an opportunity to teach your kids that cleaning up is a part of cooking.

Recipes: