Tip of the Day
How to Serve "Balanced Meals"
We hear the term "balanced meals" all the time, but what exactly does it mean? Once called "square meals," balanced meals provide immediate and long-term benefits for you and your family. Kids need the correct balance of nutrients and calories for their growing bodies. The secret to building balanced meals or snacks is to enjoy a variety of nutrient-rich foods and beverages.
- Start with fruits and vegetables. Produce is low in fat and calories, cholesterol-free and packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients. Most American children, and many adults, do not eat the recommended servings each day. Children should eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 1 ½ cups of fruit each day.
- Add in whole grains. Minimally processed whole grains like whole-wheat bread or cereal, brown rice, or whole-grain pasta are good sources of fiber and antioxidants. Make at least half of your grains whole.
- Power of protein. Kids need protein to grow strong and tall. Serve lean sources of protein like lean beef, pork, fish, seafood, turkey or chicken. Include legumes (dried beans and peas) and low-fat or fat-free dairy.
Don't forget to choose your kids' beverages wisely. Move away from sugary beverages with lots of added sugars and offer low-fat milk or water.
For tips on keeping your children strong and healthy, visit Nutrition for Kids and Teens and consult a registered dietitian in your area.
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