7 foods to keep in the kitchen

7 foods to keep 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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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!