August is 'Kids Eat Right' Month!

Nutrition Notes: August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ Month!

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

With childhood obesity on the rise, it is important to make sure kids are eating right and getting plenty of exercise.

Parents and caregivers can play a big role in a child’s nutrition and overall health by teaching kids about the benefits of fueling their bodies with healthy foods and encouraging them to spend less time sitting and more time moving. Plus, it is much easier to inspire kids to make good choices when you practice what you preach, too! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has some steps families can take to encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles:

1. Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

2. Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.

3. Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.

4. Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and male at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.

5. Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for at least 60 minutes per day.

Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, especially if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help.

“Talk to your children. Learn the food they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Find ways together to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” explains Angela Lemond, registered dietician and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.

It may help to consult a registered dietician in your area to ensure your family is getting the nutrients it needs with a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle and busy schedule.

To learn more about ‘Kids Eat Right’ month, please visit

This August, reevaluate your family’s exercise and eating habits, and take steps to make positive, healthful changes.

*This blog post was adapted from the website. All rights reserved to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Go outside and play!

Nutrition Notes: Keep Kids Healthy and Happy This Summer!

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

With barbecues, beach days and festivals, summer can really put a kink in a person’s healthy eating habits and children are no exception. A family’s normal school year routine usually goes on vacation once the summer months are in session giving children a lot more free time. This extra free time can sometimes result in confusion between feelings of boredom and feelings of hunger and when that happens, kids may feel more compelled to reach for a bag of chips than going outside to play with their friends. However, there are ways for parents to help by making healthy eating a top priority for the whole family.

Kid-friendly snacks: Consider creating a designated shelf or drawer in your fridge for healthy snacks and ingredients that children can get on their own. Children enjoy creating their own things and healthy snacks can be one of the many summer time fun activities for them to take part in. There are many prepackaged snack options, but nutritious and easy to prepare options can be just as convenient to have on hand to meet everyone’s craving. Try a few of the ideas here!

Make a routine and stick with it: It is important to try and keep children on some sort of schedule when school’s out. Starting each day with a good and healthy breakfast is important, as it provides everyone with the fuel and energy they need in order to take on the day ahead.

Keep kids involved: Like tip number one, it is important to have several activity options available to your children during the summer months. According to research from the University of Michigan, children who watch more TV paired with inactivity develop a higher risk for becoming overweight. To combat inactivity, encourage kids to go outside and play. Also, be sure to set aside time to do things as a family whether you go for a hike together or play catch with a football.  Any activity that is fun and gets you moving is better than none! Need some more ideas? Click here!

The summer months offer so many fun activities and events that allow you and your family to have fun and stay active. Do you have any family time favorite activities or snacks? Share a picture or idea with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Summer salads are not only refreshing, but they are also nutritious!

Nutrition Notes: Savvy Summer Salads

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Hot summer nights call for a quick and easy meal to keep you cool, hydrated and satiated. With many different fruits and vegetables in season during the summer months, it is the perfect time to experiment with the flavors of your local farmers market to create fun new salads! This summer try something new! Instead of settling for the same old greens topped with dressing, try a few of the following ideas to inspire a new and improved salad!

1. Make it a Meal: Salads are often paired with an entrée as a side dish, but there are many ways to beef up a salad to make it more filling and serve as the main dish. Try adding a protein source like meat, eggs or beans along with a healthy fat such as avocado slices or a handful of nuts. Always try to include as many colors as you can with your salad. The different colors represent different nutrients, so the more colors the better!

2. Downsize on the Dressing: When deciding on a dressing, the decision can either make or break your healthy salad. Even choices such as olive oil can quickly add up too since each tablespoon has about 120 calories. Try making your own dressing like the ones here. Another option is to keep it simple by using a few of these options to flavor your salads: a scoop of hummus, salsa, flavored vinegars, garlic, or lemon or orange juice. Watching your waistline? Put dressing on the side that way you can dip your fork in the dressing with each bite of salad, so you will get a taste of dressing while sparing some extra calories.

3. Change it Up: People can get bored with the same old salad routine. Jazz it up a bit by incorporating a different vegetable or new salad greens. You can also try a grain-based salad with extra fruit and vegetables. Consider grilling a few different fruits and vegetables and tossing them into your salads as well.

Salad creation can be described as an ever-changing culinary art form, so don’t let your usual salad routine get you in a rut! These nutrient-packed powerhouses can leave you satisfied for hours and can be a fun family activity during the creation process. Try a few of the recipes below and see what new recipes you can create in the kitchen!

Mason Jar Salads                                 Quinoa Veggie Salad

Curried Waldorf Salad                         Summer Salad Ideas with Fruit

Do you have a favorite salad recipe that you have been making this summer? Share a picture of your recipe or colorful salad with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


Don't these smoothies just make your mouth water?

Nutrition Notes: Summer Smoothie Season

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

With sunny skies and beach season in full swing, there is no better time than now to try out some new smoothie recipes! Smoothies can be a great and healthy kick-start to your day, especially after a long holiday weekend. Try incorporating a few of the tips below and you will be blending like a pro in no time!

1. Proper Procedure: Always add the ice last. This will prevent over blending, which can lead to a watery smoothie rather than smooth and frothy. The best order of procedure is: liquid, frozen fruit, add-ins (protein or fat), ice and add fresh fruit last.

2. Freeze Your Own: Next time you have a few overripe bananas or a bag of spinach that is about to spoil, save them for your next smoothie by throwing them in a freezer bag. Remember to peel and chop the banana before freezing for ease later on.

3. Make it Easy: By setting aside about 30 minutes once a week, you can prepare freezer ready smoothie packs for the remainder of the week. This technique provides an extra health punch to your week and it can also save you money because you will no longer have to spend $4 to $5 on your smoothie fix each day. Find some inspiration here Smoothie 101: A month of Smoothies in an Hour

4. Add Some Protein: Protein promotes satiety and can help prevent those mid-morning munchies at work. Try adding some nut butter or incorporate your favorite Greek Yogurt to help keep you full longer.

5. Sneak in those Veggies: Have you been trying to increase your vegetable consumption? Well, you are in luck because smoothies are a perfect place to hide some extra greens! If you are a beginner, try starting with a few handfuls of spinach. Spinach will provide the least amount of change to a smoothie’s overall flavor. Once you are feeling confident, try experimenting by incorporating kale, beets, cucumber, carrots, Swiss chard and more!

Need a little more inspiration or prefer to follow directions? Here are a couple basic recipes to help you out!

Summer Breeze Smoothie    Banana-Blueberry Smoothie

Do you have a smoothie recipe you have been loving this summer? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!