1. Center of the plate: lean protein with fresh vegetables and/or fruit
Pairing 2-3 ounces of protein — a lean cut of meat or legumes with at least one cup of non-fried fresh vegetables and/or fruit.
If the protein is meat or poultry it must be raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. If seafood, we request it to be a variety of sustainable seafood.
2. Portion sizes: Keep it simple
Children consume almost twice as many calories when eating food in restaurants. A child’s stomach is about the size of their fist, so smaller portions of good food will fill them up and leave them satisfied.
3. Use whole grain breads and pasta
Choose about a two-ounce serving of whole grains instead of highly refined grain products. Whole grain products are packed with nutrients and fiber and will contain at least 51% of whole grains as listed on label.
4. Use cooking methods that are lower in fat while still retaining flavors
Steer away from serving fried food that is high in fat, saturated fat and calories. As well, avoid all food using trans fat or hydrogenated fats.
5. Prepare your dishes with great flavors while limiting salt and sugar
High sodium diets can cause a number of health challenges, even in children. Build your dish with flavor profiles that introduce children to the naturally delicious taste of healthy foods while limiting salt and sugar.
6. Keep it local and seasonal
Local produce is fresher, tastier and a great way to get kids engaged in learning about local and seasonal food. It’s great for the environment and kids love to be a part of being green.
7. Serve no-sugar beverages and small, if any, desserts
Have kids order flat or sparkling water flavored with vegetables or fruit. Or serve a one-cup serving of non-flavored organic milk or a dairy equivalent in your meal. Soda and concentrated fruit juice are unwelcomed guests at the table. Finally, if you want to add dessert to the meal, continue the idea of small and seasonal.
8. Keep the bread basket off the table before the meal
Substitute the bread for fresh vegetables and let kids hunger be satisfied with the main meal.