I’m mentoring some dietetic students from Keiser University in Port St. Lucie ,Fl and have asked them to contribute and research new approaches to healthier nutritional lifestyles for children. Here is an article co-authored by myself and Eliezer Archange. Let us know what you think.

It is known by everyone that families are the primary group that shapes our society. Every one of us carries something that belongs to a member of our family. As they say: “It is in your genes”. Just like our cultures, most of the food habits that we have are from what we have learned from growing up with our parents. For example, why do you think the Indians are so in love of spicy foods? Thus, our parents influence how our children eat, what they love eating and the choices that they make. In this article, we will provide five tips that parents can successfully use to help them make healthy food choices for children aged 6 to 12.
1. Tips # 1 – Food Variety For Your Kids
Providing a variety of food in your children diet is one of the best ways to assure that your children receive everything that they need to eat healthy. As a matter of fact, you can add a variety to your children diet by doing the following:
a) Vegetables
• Serve them raw
• Let kids pick up stir-fried vegetables in their fingers.
• Let kids choose vegetables in the supermarket.
• Grow some vegies, even if it’s only lettuce in large ice-cream containers
b) Fruit
• Have fresh fruit available and leave it in a visible spot in the fruit bowl or at the front of the fridge
• Make sure they see their parents, especially fathers, enjoying fruit.
• Don’t have junk food alternatives to fruit available as a regular thing.
c) Breads And Cereals
• Start kids on smooth, whole meal bread.
• If kids only want white bread, don’t fuss, but buy high-fiber, white loaves
d) Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Nuts, Beans And Tofu
e) Dairy products
2. Tip # 2 – Portion Size For Your Children
Providing portion size at all meals to your children is another great way to start them on a healthy path. Here is a few ideas on how to control portion in your household:
a) Use a salad plate for dinner. It is easier to control the amounts with a smaller plate.
b) Use small serving spoons or tablespoons to serve dishes
3. Tip # 3 – Let the Kids Help Put The Fruit or Vegetables Into The Grocery Cart
According to “Nourish Interactive”, letting the kids help put the fruit and vegetable into the grocery cart can help them learn and grow with the habit that fruit and vegetable are to be included in the grocery shopping.
4. Tip # 4 – Teach Kids to Read Food Labels
Reading food labels is great way to teach your kids how some foods are better for them than others. Keep in mind that the nutrition facts label, also called the nutrition information panel, tells you all you need to know about the food you put in your mouth so you can make healthier dietary choices.
5. Tip # 5 – Cooking Tips
When cooking at home for your kids, it is important to do the following:
• Get your child involved in cooking and preparing meals
• Cook with less fat – bake, roast, or poach foods instead of frying
• Limit the amount of added sugar in your child diet
• Choose and prepare foods with less salt
In brief, as a parent, you have the great opportunity to be the very first person to influence and make a serious impact in the food choices of your child. So, it is important that you use that opportunity wisely by making food choices that will help your child live healthier and longer. Remember to always make sure that child eat a proper and healthy breakfast every day because it can help you child get the energy that he/she needs to listen and learn in school.

Adding Variety to Your Kids’ Diet – Rosemary Stanton Shows Us How. Retrieved on September/13/12 at http://www.kidslife.com.au/Page.aspx?ID=890
Rogers, J. A. (2012, September-October). Kid in the kitchen: fun ways to get your children excited about eating healthfully. Vibrant Life, 28(5), 42+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezp-00rrw.lirn.net/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA301557536&v=2.1&u=lirn99776&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w
The Importance of Reading Food Labels. Article retrieved on September/13/12 at http://www.livestrong.com/article/269625-importance-of-nutrition-labels/#ixzz26MVHhJyD