Healthy Children - November 2017

10 Tips:  Make Celebrations Fun, Healthy, and Active

 Eating healthy and being physically active can be a fun part of parties and events.  Great gatherings are easy to do when tasty, healthy foods from all the food groups are offered in a fun, active environment.  Above all, focus on enjoying friends and family.

  1. Make healthy habits part of your celebrations. Food and beverages are a part of an event, but they do not have to be the center of the occasion.  Focus on activities to get people moving and enjoy being together.
  1. Make foods look festive. Add a few eye-catching fruits to a favorite dish or new recipe.  For older children, add a sprinkle of almonds or green onions to make the dish pop.  Decorate foods with nuts or seeds or use shapes for vegetables.
  1. Offer thirst quenches that please. Make fun ice cubes from 100% juice or add slices of fruit to make water more exciting.  Create a “float” by adding a scoop of low-fat sorbet to seltzer water.
  1. Savor the flavor. Take time to pay attention to the taste of each bite of food.  Make small changes in your old recipes or try dishes from another culture to liven things up.
  1. Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to include foods from the food groups for your party. Offer whole-grain crackers.  Serve a spicy bean dip and a veggie tray. Make fruit kabobs, layer yogurt and fruit to create a sweet parfait.  Use whole grains and veggies to make a savory, healthy salad.
  1. Make moving part of every event. Being physically active makes everyone feel good.  Dancing, moving, playing active games, wiggling and giggling add fun to any gathering.
  1. Try out some healthier recipes. Find ways to cut back on added sugars, salt and saturated fat as you prepare your favorite recipes.  Try out some of the recipes on the ChooseMyPlate and the What’s Cooking? Websites.
  1. Make a healthy sandwich. Choose turkey, roast beef, canned tuna or salmon, or peanut butter for sandwiches.  Many deli meats, such as regular bologna or salami, are high in fat and sodium – make them occasional treats only.
  1. Think small when it comes to meat portions. Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion.  Make or order a smaller turkey burger or a “petite” size steak.
  1. Check the sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts label to limit sodium.  Salt is added to many canned foods-including soups, vegetables, beans, and meats.  Many processed meats-such as ham, sausage, and hot dogs-are high in sodium.  Some fresh chicken, turkey and port are brined in a salt solution for flavor and tenderness.

*What counts as an ounce of protein foods?  1 ounce of meat, poultry, or seafood, 1 egg; ¼ cup cooked beans or peas; 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as an ounce –equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.

Revised January 2016