Arielle 'Dani' Lebovitz, M.S., R.D.
Fall has arrived! The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing, and the spookiest time of the year is just around the corner. October not only hosts Halloween, the number one biggest candy-selling day of the year, it is also Children's Health Month with October 1st marking Child Health Day.
First proclaimed in 1928 by President Coolidge, Child Health Day is celebrated to promote the health and well-being of our Nation's youth and that begins in the home with the way we nourish our families.
The way we feed our families is key to keeping our kids healthy and reversing the childhood obesity trend that has more than tripled in the past 30 years. October is a great month to encourage a fun and healthy lifestyle for your children and does not have to be expensive or time consuming on busy weeknights or Halloween.
Picky eaters? Not a problem! Campbell's Kitchen® recipes have some of your kid's old favorites and new quick delish meals they are sure to love. Still not convinced? Use these tips to encourage your children to try new foods.
Get kids involved! Support Child Health Day and Children's Health Month by encouraging your kids to help with meal planning, shopping, and preparation. Getting kids involved in the kitchen will empower them to try new foods and make better choices. Not only will they take pride in the food they helped to prepare, they will learn how to make healthy food choices that will last a lifetime!
Try a "make your own mini pizza bar" and give prizes for the scariest pizza face at your Halloween party! All you need are Pepperidge Farm® Deli Flats®, Prego® Pizzeria Style Pizza sauce, 2% mozzarella cheese, and an assortment of fresh sliced veggies such as mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, onions, and any other frightening toppings.
Be a role model! Purchasing healthy options is the first step to encouraging your kids to make healthy food choices; however, enjoying those foods each day in front of your children will motivate them to try the foods themselves. Using descriptive words to describe why you like those foods may entice children to try them such as "this is delicious, I like the crunchy noise it makes!"
On a busy night this Fall try this recipe for Crunchy No-Fry Chicken. The Crunchy No-Fry Chicken goes great with some frozen veggies and instant brown rice for a savory, and crunchy nutritious combination. How can a child resist a food that makes cool crunching noises when you eat it?
Make Family Meals a Priority!Not only is family meal time an ideal place to catch up with your kids and talk about the day, studies show that kids who eat meals as a family on a regular basis are more likely to make better choices about the foods they eat and promote a healthy weight.
Choosing favorite family comfort foods are always a hit as the weather gets cool, try this recipe for Quick Skillet Chicken & Macaroni Parmesan. It is quick, delicious, and budget friendly too! Maximize your nutrients and fiber intake by swapping out the macaroni with whole grain macaroni or another fun whole grain pasta shape.
Snack Smart! Smart snacking is an easy way to ensure your kids are getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy in between meal times. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always an ideal option but with candy on the mind during the month of October this can be a challenge.
This year, instead of adding to the confectionary treats, consider providing trick-or-treaters with Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® Made with Whole Grain Cheddar crackers or raisins for a healthier trick-or-treat option. Allowing kids some control to pick the treat they want to indulge with is important, but using these treats as a reward will not aid in promoting healthy food behaviors. By providing treats that are a healthier option, your kids might enjoy the opportunity to pick both a sweet treat and a savory snack!
Have Fun! Set your kids up for success this October and celebrate Children's Health Month with delicious wholesome meals that your kids are sure to enjoy. Before your kiddos bundle up and scare the neighborhood with their spooky costumes and indulge in the average 24.7 pounds of candy per person, each Halloween, make sure they have a great family meal. It's as simple as opening your favorite can of Campbell's® soup! I know I will have my Healthy Request® Cream of Mushroom soup and a recipe on hand!
Live Deliciously, Arielle "Dani" Lebovitz
References http://mchb.hrsa.gov/childhealthday/history.html http://www.halloweenstats.com/ http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm http://www.letsmove.gov/blog/2012/09/04/president-obama-proclaims-september-2012-national-childhood-obesity-awareness-month http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=9965#transcript
Arielle "Dani" Lebovitz, M.S., R.D. Dani received her Master's degree in Health Communication at Boston University and her bachelor's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in Dietetics from Colorado State University. She completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and has worked in many different capacities in the nutrition field including clinical nutrition, dialysis, and health promotion. Dani currently works as a Health and Fitness Specialist and Registered Dietitian at Robins Air Force Base where she enjoys educating people of all ages in nutrition and fitness including children. Dani recently earned a Certification as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She has been published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition, American Association of Kidney Patients AAKP Renal Life, and is a regular contributor to the Robins Rev Up newspaper. Dani enjoys her Campbell® soup even in the hot and humid Georgia summers!