7 foods you should always have in the kitchen

7 foods you should always have in the kitchen

Having trouble getting your children to eat healthy? Jamie Portnoy, a registered pediatric dietitian at Advocate Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Active Living Program offers the following recommendations.

“First, get them involved in the kitchen,” she says. “If you include your kids in meal planning, grocery shopping and food preparation, they become invested in the process and are more likely to eat healthy. Second, make only healthy food accessible, like easy-to-grab fruits and vegetables. If you don’t purchase sweet treats, they are out-of-sight and out-of-mind. The same is true of sugary drinks—only buy water or milk.”

Portnoy suggests parents keep these seven foods and drinks in the kitchen for their children:

  • Skim or 1 percent milk: Dairy is important for growth and development.
  • Fresh fruit: Have fruit washed, cut and stored so kids can easily grab it. Kids should aim for five servings of fruit per day.
  • Fresh veggies: Just like fruit, have veggies washed, chopped and stored so kids can easily grab as a snack. If your child does not like vegetables, try dipping them in a low-fat dressing. Kids should aim for five servings of vegetables per day.
  • Dips (hummus, low-fat dressings, nut butters): You can pair the fruits and vegetables with dips. Try ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) or broccoli and carrots with low-fat ranch dressing. Dips are a good way to introduce fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole-grain crackers: Portion out a few crackers with nut butters.
  • Lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey, egg whites): Protein is an essential nutrient in your child’s diet. Keeping lean protein in your house will help your children to stay satiated. Aim for ¼ plate protein.
  • Water: Avoid sugary drinks and increase water intake. The only drinks kids should drink are milk and water. It’s okay to flavor water with fruit, like lemons and limes.

“Be a good role model for your children,” says Portnoy. “If you eat healthy, they will be more likely to try different things, too.”

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  1. Charles Crotteau
    Charles A. Crotteau, M.D. May 30, 2018 at 11:17 am · Reply

    Not sure if I agree with the recommendation for skim or 1% milk. The value of milk fat (or fat in general) in a healthy diet is becoming better understood, for both children and adults.

  2. Gabrielle Toupence May 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm · Reply

    What do you mean “try ants”???????

    • Ants on a log are sticks of celery with peanut butter and raisins but it seems they forgot the raisin part in the article.

  3. Ms Woloshyn defined “ants on a log” in the parenthetical (celery with peanut butter); I believe she means crunchy peanut butter.

  4. What is with the low fat harping? That is not proving to be true in the latest research! Low fat eating means the calories will be made up in carbs or additional and unneeded protein, and that’s where the diabetes and obesity come from, not fat. Whole milk, please!

About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!