Some MoreThoughts on Healthy Eating…for Summer-time and Beyond

Small child with head down on highchair.

Image via Wikipedia

As parents, we are responsible for what our children eat…at least when they are little.

We plan the meals, shop for the ingredients, prepare the food and serve it.

So every young child should be eating a healthy balanced diet, right?

Unfortunately, many young children are NOT eating a healthy balanced diet because:

  • Many parents didn’t have a healthy diet themselves as children and don’t really know what to serve!
  • The media overloads us with commercials about fast food and sugary desserts!
  • Young children can be fussy about eating and concerned parents just want them to eat SOMETHING!

Here are some simple steps parents can take to help:

1.     Plan regular meal-times…if children know they can get something to eat at any time of the day or night, they will not be motivated to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And having family meals together provides so many other emotional and social benefits as well. 

2.     Snacks are important additions to a young child’s daily food intake… provide nutritious ones like veggie sticks dipped in hummus, cheese cubes with whole grain crackers and fruit slices in yogurt.

3.     Serve small portions…young children can be overwhelmed when a plate piled with food is put in front of them…for instance, if your child is having a sandwich, cut it in quarters and serve one quarter at a time.

4.     Use your imagination to make meals pleasing to the eye…attractive plates and servings arranged in an interesting way…for example, a small bowl of spaghetti with two meatballs for the eyes, a steamed baby carrot for the nose and several steamed green beans for the smile.  What fun!  You can always add a new “nose” and new “smile” when your child finishes the first ones.   Or how about using cookie cutters to make interesting shapes of sandwiches?

5.     Avoid processed foods as much as possible…they are usually filled with salt, sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.  When your children become accustomed to these, they can lose their appreciation for the flavor and goodness of wholesome natural foods.

There are many websites that can help with nutrition information and meal planning.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=1

http://www.mealsmatter.org/

http://www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com/healthy-meal-planning.html

For more meal-planning tips, fresh ideas and simple recipes that your children can help prepare, you can get a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…now on sale for 50% off the cover price on my website.  For only $22.50, you will have 100 child-friendly recipes, 100 arts and crafts activities and 100 picture book summaries that all build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  Did you know that this great resource is also a memory book…with lined spaces on every other page for you to record your child’s highlights?

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Colorado Springs PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park

Hundreds of happy children and their parents turned out for the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest on Saturday, June 11th at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. 

With music and entertainment on the bandstand and Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George in costume, Acacia Park came alive.  It was also the official opening of the Uncle Wilbur Fountain that many children enjoy during the hot summer days.

I was thrilled to be partnering with PBS and even before the event got underway, early visitors stopped by to check out the SHOW ME HOW table.  Almost 70 parents filled out an entry for the free craft supply kit…and the winner is…Dawn!!!  I’ll be emailing her today to let her know she is the lucky winner!

Many of the participants at the Fun Fest offered activities for the children…at the Show Me How! table, we were crafting Curious George paper plate faces and Clifford the Big Red Dog headbands with doggy ears.  Easy enough for a very young child to do and so much fun…using inexpensive materials that parents already have around the house…paper, crayons or markers, a paper plate, scissors and glue.  Hundreds of happy children walked away proudly wearing their Clifford headbands and waving their Curious George paper plate faces.

It was amazing to see how much the children enjoyed these simple art activities.  Even though my book is geared for children ages 2 to 5, many of the older children sat down and eagerly began decorating their headbands or paper plate faces.  Just because the headband was for Clifford the Big Red Dog didn’t mean that the children had to color it red.  In fact, there were many rainbow headbands and others with detailed designs.  One child decided that his Curious George paper plate face needed to be a frog instead of a monkey and so he used green markers to color it in.  Hurray for the uniqueness of every child!!!!

I was so happy to see the parents participating with their children because that’s what Show Me How!  Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is all about!  The book is a road map for parents and teachers…open it to any page and you will find a picture book suggestion with summary and a simple craft project and an easy recipe.

Are you overwhelmed and tired at the end of the day?  I know I was when my children were small.  I would have loved to have a resource like Show Me How!  In fact, that’s why I wrote the book, because I realized that many parents have so much on their plate these days, they often don’t have the time or the energy to plan fun-filled educational self-esteem-building activities for their little ones.

Please head over to my website where you can purchase a copy of this amazing award-winning book for only $22.50…that’s a 50% saving off the cover price!  You can’t get much for under $25 these days when it comes to gifts and Father’s Day is right around the corner.   Chris Singer @bookdads is doing a tribute to fathers and I did a guest post  on his blog.  You’ll have fresh ideas for the whole summer and beyond!  And here’s a BONUS:  if you purchase a copy from my website during the next 14 days, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free craft supply kit for your preschooler…safety scissors, glue stick, construction paper, and more!

I’d also like to remind anyone who is local to the Colorado Springs/Monument Colorado area that next Saturday, June 18th from 11am to 2pm there will be a town-wide festival for children called the Summer Soul-Stice.  I’ll be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore, crafting with children.  There was an announcement in the Denver Post and other local papers about it…so I’m hoping there will be a big turnout!  Please stop by and say hello.

Make-A-Meal Mondays: Mother’s Day Special

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday.

What does every mother really need?


Perhaps some of you might say a day at the salon or a new dress.

Others might dream about a romantic get-away or dinner at a fancy restaurant.

But budgets are tight for most of us and young children really don’t have money to spend.

So what can your young children give you?

Here’s a beautiful solution that involves your young children in the planning and preparation (children love to help in the kitchen and it builds self-esteem, develops pre-reading skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. 

It’s also fun for the entire family and costs nothing more than a regular lunch or dinner at home.

Have a Mother’s Day Picnic…outside if the weather is mild (at a local park if you have one nearby) or indoors if it is cold or rainy.  Spread out the blanket on the living room floor and you are all set!

Use paper plates for no-hassle cleanup…not having to prepare or clean up the meal is a wonderful gift for any mom.

MOTHER’S DAY KABOBS

You will need: An assortment of fruit such as grapes, strawberries and apples, a small block of American, Cheddar or Swiss cheese, several slices of cooked turkey or chicken and bamboo skewers.

1.     Wash the fruit, cut stems off the strawberries, cut the apples in chunks.

2.     Cut the cheese into small cubes.

3.     Cut the meat slices into strips.  Roll each strip before you push it onto the skewer.

4.     Push pieces of fruit, cheese and meat onto each skewer in a colorful arrangement…let your child decide.

5.     Wrap each completed skewer in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready for the picnic.

To round off the meal, choose whole wheat rolls or crackers and a juice box for each member of the family.  Bring a ball to toss back and forth if you go to a park.   If your picnic is indoors, why not turn on some music and have a family dance-off.  I guarantee that your young children will treasure this Mother’s Day memory for years to come and, hopefully, you will as well. 

Spending fun positive time together (that doesn’t cost a fortune and cause financial stress) builds family bonds.  If you want some more Mother’s Day activities, including a craft project that will make beautiful note cards your child can give to a beloved grandmother or preschool teacher, please head over and click the activities tab on my website at http://www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Summer is just around the corner.  I know that many parents are wondering what they will do with their children.  Great activities abound in my new book.   

For this week only, in honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a $10 MARSHALLS/TJMAXX GIFT CARD (two of the favorite stores of every mom) that will be included when your book ships out to you…a treasure-trove of fun-filled simple activities for your child and a lovely gift for you!  Happy Mother’s Day from MoneyPenny Press, Ltd.