March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
When it comes to food and nutrition, even the most knowledgeable parents can use help making sure their children are eating healthy meals. The good news is that shopping, cooking and eating is easier with assistance from www.kidseatright.org, a website from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation.
Providing practical advice on how to improve the nutritional value of meals, this interactive site is part of Kids Eat Right, a national campaign to promote and ensure quality nutrition in children's diets and prevent childhood obesity.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, children, teens and adults have diets deficient in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium and potassium, and the Kids Eat Right campaign calls for increased attention to the alarming nutrient deficiencies in children's diets.
"Weight is not the only measure of good nutrition and health. Any child — whether they are of normal weight, overweight or obese — can be undernourished," said registered dietitian Dr. Katie Brown, national education director for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.
"Quality nutrition requires a total diet approach that goes beyond calorie counting alone, to focus on including those nutrients critical for a child's healthy growth and development."
From shopping for nutritious foods, cooking tips and recipes to the benefits of eating as a family and tips for eating on the go, www.kidseatright.org helps families maintain healthy eating within tight schedules. The site includes practical articles, recipes, tips and videos on healthy eating for families and weekly messages from registered dietitians.
Parents influence their children's food choices not only as children's primary caregivers — but as their kids' biggest role models. Parents' status as children's top role models is just one of the findings of a recent nationwide survey of parents and kids by the Foundation. The survey also shows parents and children alike are more aware of what they should avoid than what they should be eating. Kids Eat Right is designed to help fill these gaps and provide families with the resources they need.
Whether speaking with a registered dietitian about essential nutrients and healthier cooking, or visiting www.kidseatright.org for tips and recipes, Kids Eat Right provides families with knowledge as well as ideas and tools to transform their eating behaviors.