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1/4 of kids meals should be from Protein

Check out our newly updated Protein page, with pictures!

  • How much protein do kids need?

    Kids ages 2-8 need:

    2-4 ounces meat and beans and 2 Cups of Dairy per day.

    A good rule of thumb is, 0.45-0.55 grams per pound of body weight for kids age 1- 14 years old.

  • Good sources of protein are; Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), beans, nuts, eggs and meats. As you feed meat products to your children, stick with lean meats such as chicken and fish.

    We use the Sectioned plate idea where 1/4 of your meal is made from proteins, 1/4 from grains, and 1/2 the meal from fruits and vegetables.

     

  • PREPARATION IDEAS:

    • Color eggs all year, not just at easter time. It's more fun for children to eat a pink or purple egg, than a plain white one.
    • We like "one eyed monsters" for a healthy breakfast tip . We cut a circle out of the middle of bread, spray both sides of the bread with butter-flavored cooking spray, lay the bread on a hot griddle, and crack the egg in the middle of the bread. Cook thorougly on both sides. Also grill slightly the cut out circle of bread and serve both the "face with the one eye egg" and the extra bread.
    • Stuff a pita pocket with scrambled eggs. A pita can be easier to handle and hold. Pita pockets are also high in fiber.
    • Some kids don't like the taste of eggs, but they love french toast. Mix two to three eggs in a shallow dish. Add a touch of cinnamon, some vanilla extract, and some low-fat milk. Dip the slices of whole-wheat bread into the egg mixture. Make sure to get a healthy coating of the egg mixture to ensure maximum egg benefits.
    • Yogurt has protein. Encourage yogurt as a great snack.
    • Roll a small slice of lean ham around a pretzel stick. Kids can make these themselves. Dip in low-fat melted cheese for extra calcium. This makes a great healthy snack or lunch.
    • If your child likes tuna sandwiches, add finely chopped or shredded vegetables such as celery or carrots. For a sweet crunch, try apple slices on tuna sandwiches.
    • Mix cottage cheese with fresh fruit. Very high in protein and tastes good.
    • Pin-wheels are bite-sized wraps, perfect for kids. Spread fat-free sour cream on a whole wheat tortilla. Put different nutrient dense foods such as lean meats and vegetables on top. Roll the tortilla up, and slice crossways. Arrange on your plate with the swirl facing up.
    • Stack meats, cheese, or veggies between two whole-grain crackers. You can stack these seperately and let the children assemble their own sandwiches.
    • When using low-fat cheese to make a grilled cheese sandwich, shred the cheese finely. It will be easier to melt and spread.
    • A healthier egg salad sandwich can be made by replacing the mayonnaise with a lower fat version. If the egg keeps falling out of your sandwich, use a pita pocket instead.
    • When serving beans over rice, melt some cheese on top. Melted cheese always makes things tastier. Healthy dinner tips!
    • Balance is important at every meal, even lunch. Add string cheese if your kids need some dairy, granola bars if they need a grain, or raw carrots if vegetables are missing.
    • For snacks, combine a carbohydrate with a protein for the most satisfying combination. Peanut butter on apples, fruit with cottage cheese, or tortilla's with beans all qualify as a nice balance.
    • Make deviled eggs ahead of time for snacking. Mix hardboiled egg yolks with some mustard and fat-free mayo. Scoop into hardboiled egg whites and store in the fridge. Pull out anytime your child needs more protein.
    • "pigs in a blanket" can be healthy if you wrap a veggie breakfast link in a low-fat crescent roll. Bake until the roll is browned and cooked.
    • Chicken fingers are easy for kids to handle, and dip if they choose. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Coat the chicke strip with plain yogurt, then dip the coated chicken in a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and season salt. Bake until chicken is cooked through. Some dips my children like is low-fat ranch, honey, and mustard.
    • Coat chicken pieces with crushed nuts and bake.
    • Replace ground beef with ground turkey. But don't get tricked. Some ground turkey is just as high in fat. Check your labels and get the leanest turkey available.
    • Skewer lean meats and low fat cheeses. Provide small bowls of different shapes like stars and triangles. Let the kids arrange their own patterns.
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