few kid-friendly recipes include cinnamon tortilla with
cream cheese and strawberries
eating is fundamental to good health — especially during
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
well-balanced diet helps prevent so many diseases. In our
Health for Life clinic, we work with families and children to
change poor lifelong eating habits and help prevent the health
issues that go along with that," said Trisha Hardy, a
registered dietitian and director of child wellness at
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
families eat right includes encouraging everyone to make half
their plate veggies and fruits, drink more water and limit
sugary drinks. Hardy says it’s also important to be active
for 60 minutes every day and limit screen time to one hour
every day as ways to have fun and keep everyone moving.
the mom of an almost 2-year-old and she shares her strategies
for encouraging children to eat a variety of foods. "My
daughter eats what we eat and we allow her to choose from what
we’re serving. Just recently she tried okra for the first
time when it came into season. It wasn’t her favorite, but I’ll
give it to her a few more times so she can get her palate used
to eating it," she said.
strategy is paying off. Broccoli? Her daughter now eats it
like ice cream. Squash? She loves it. "We find if we try
it, she will try it. Role modeling is so important," said
says when you’re working towards healthier cooking, it’s
important to start small. The all or nothing approach
generally doesn’t work, she said. "Make these changes
over time. The more you can make your children a part of the
decision, the more likely they are to embrace and adopt
them." "A lot of time people think they can’t eat
healthy because they don’t have the time, it costs too much
and it’s too difficult. That’s just not true," said
Hardy. She offers a number of suggestions that can make eating
healthy a way of life at your house.
good role model. This may be the most important tip of all.
Children tend to eat what their parents eat. Eat well-balanced
meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables and your kids are
more likely to do the same.
occasional meal with no meat. The Black Bean Sliders in this
story are a good example. Beans are less expensive than ground
beef so serving beans instead of meat once in a while will
save money and add fiber to your meals.
breakfast for dinner. Dishes like the Collard Green Bake in
this story or an omelet, filled with vegetables, are a dinner
solution that’s quick to prepare, full of nutrients and easy
on the budget.
your freezer wisely. A few favorites stored away make fixing
dinner quicker than going through the drive-through. Frozen
vegetables and frozen chicken make quick stir fries a breeze.
When you make rice, cook extra and freeze it in meal-size
portions. It thaws in minutes and that takes care of the most
time-consuming part of a stir fry dinner. Frozen vegetables in
particular are a good investment. They’re just as nutritious
as fresh, keep longer and are easy to pull out at a moment’s
your pantry wisely. Check out the list at the Strong 4 Life
website and stock your pantry shelves with the tools for
quick, healthy dinners.
skillet meals. A quesadilla filled with rinsed, drained
low-sodium black beans and a cup of sauteed vegetables goes
together in just a minute. Add a little shredded part skim
cheese, a side salad and some fruit and dinner is done. An
omelet is another great skillet meal idea.
what you’re drinking, too. Water and low fat milk are the
best beverages to serve with meals. Limit juice consumption.
Even 100 percent juice can contain the equivalent of as much
sugar as a soda. Whole fruit is a much better choice than
juice because it also provides fiber. Low fat milk provides
calcium and protein and is essential for kids as they grow and
your own "TV dinners": Every time you cook a meal,
cook extra. Now you have leftovers for another dinner or for
lunch another day. If you don’t want to eat them the same
week, freeze them in menu-size portions and pull them out for
a quick meal. Spaghetti sauces, soups and stews in particular
everybody in meal planning and preparation. If your children
help you buy the vegetables and fix them for dinner, they’re
more likely to try them. They get excited about eating things
when they’re part of the process.
variety of vegetables. If getting them to eat vegetables is a
struggle, give them a choice. Ask "Would you like
broccoli or would you like green beans for dinner?"
Choosing between your selections empowers them and they’re
more likely to eat it because it was their decision.
give up. It takes all of us, children and adults, multiple
tries to really develop a taste for a food. Be persistent.
Keep offering a vegetable or a new dish.
more tips on healthy eating at .
food is also delicious food. Colorful, flavorful and even fun
to eat. Here we’ve collaborated with Children’s Healthcare
of Atlanta and the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
to provide ideas for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch and dinner.
TORTILLAS WITH CREAM CHEESE AND BERRIES
on: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Serves: 1
choice of berries is up to you. Blackberries or blueberries
can go onto the tortilla whole. Strawberries should be sliced.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Trisha Hardy suggests
serving the tortillas with a glass of skim milk.
teaspoon granulated sugar
(6-inch) fat-free whole wheat tortilla
tablespoon reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.
microwave, warm tortilla 20 seconds. Carefully remove and
spread tortilla with cream cheese. Sprinkle with
sugar-cinnamon mixture and top with berries. Roll tortilla and
serving: 164 calories (percent of calories from fat, 22), 5
grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams
fat (1 gram saturated), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 182
on: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 6
black bean sliders can be made ahead of time and refrigerated
for up to 4 days. Send them to school in a whole wheat slider
bun spread with light mayonnaise. Tuck in a separate container
of spinach and sliced tomato to be added when the kids are
ready to eat. The night before, cut a sweet potato into
wedges, rub with a teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt
and pepper and bake until tender. Send those along with the
sliders and some fruit.
(16-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
tablespoon chili powder
tablespoon hot sauce
whole wheat bread
diced green bell pepper
diced red bell pepper
teaspoons canola oil
wheat slider buns, light mayonnaise, spinach, sliced tomato
bowl of a food processor, combine black beans, egg, chili
powder, cumin and hot sauce. Pulse briefly just until beans
begin to break down. Move mixture to a large bowl. Do not
clean out food processor bowl. Return bowl to processor and
add whole wheat bread. Process into crumbs. Add green and red
bell peppers, onion and garlic and pulse briefly to combine.
Combine pepper mixture with black bean mixture and stir
thoroughly to combine.
large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Using ¼ cup
measure, drop bean mixture into skillet to form patties.
Flatten slightly. Cook until brown on the first side, about 2
minutes, and carefully turn over. Brown second side, about 2
minutes, and remove from skillet. Do not crowd pan. Continue
until all patties are cooked. Patties are a little fragile, so
patties immediately or cool and refrigerate up to 4 days.
serving: 197 calories (percent of calories from fat, 22), 9
grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 5 grams
fat (1 gram saturated), 35 milligrams cholesterol, 282
on: 5 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Serves: 4
extra salmon would be delicious in a sandwich for lunch or
added to a salad. For a complete dinner, serve with Tangy
Brown Rice with Goat Cheese (see recipe) and add another side
of vegetables. Serve with fresh fruit for dessert.
(4-ounce) salmon fillets
tablespoon honey mustard
tablespoons seasoned or plain bread crumbs
tablespoons chopped pecans
tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
both sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Paint top
of salmon with mustard and arrange on baking sheet.
small bowl, combine bread crumbs, pecans and parsley. Sprinkle
topping evenly over fillets, pressing to adhere to mustard.
Bake fillets 10 minutes or until fish just begins to flake.
serving: 179 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 23
grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 7 grams fat
(1 gram saturated), 60 milligrams cholesterol, 124 milligrams
BROWN RICE WITH GOAT CHEESE
on: 15 minutes Total time: 1 hour Serves: 4
for the Swiss chard in this recipe could include spinach, kale
or collard greens. When you have time, cook a big batch of
brown rice ahead of time and freeze in 2 cup portions. Now you
can quickly stir together a recipe like this, make a rice
salad or warm up a batch to serve alongside your favorite stir
tablespoon olive oil
chopped Swiss chard
reduced-sodium chicken broth
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
crumbled goat cheese
medium saucepan, combine water and rice. Bring to a boil, then
reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes or until rice is
rice is cooking, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over
medium heat and add onion. Saute until translucent, about 5
minutes, then add chard and cover skillet. Cook 4 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Uncover and add chicken broth. Cook 10
minutes or until greens are tender. Add lemon juice. Keep warm
until rice is ready.
rice is tender, stir into cooked chard and season to taste.
Stir in goat cheese until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
serving: 254 calories (percent of calories from fat, 26), 8
grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams
fat (2 grams saturated), 7 milligrams cholesterol, 109
recipes adapted from "Seasonal Eats: A Recipe Collection
of Georgia Products" by the Georgia Academy of Nutrition
and Dietetics ($12 plus $5 shipping and handling,