Monday, September 15, 2014

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Being Creative Can Help Make Healthy Eating Fun for Kids

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The latest Healthy Living report offers some out-of-the-box ideas for how to get your kids eating healthy. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

The kids are back to school, and that means it’s time to start loading those lunchboxes. But if you want your kids to be happy and healthy, registered dietitian Sharon Richter has some out-of-the-box ideas that may whet your kid’s appetite for healthy eating.

First, getting some kids to eat fruits and vegetables may not be easy, so she says make them fun.

"Some of my favorite things to do are, you take some lettuce or broccoli and add little cheddar bunnies so you have the bunnies playing in their field of grass," Richter says. "Or, you can take the Justin's almond butter or peanut butter squeeze packs and you can add them to an apple, a banana or even celery. Add your raisins, and you have your bumps on a log. You can get something like hummus and dip some vegetables into it and cut them into fun shapes."

If protein is the problem, she says try a kid-friendly approach. It’s all about how you sell it.

"Protein is often a challenge for parents because the kids don't like to have the sandwiches and things like that, but again, you have to make it fun for them," Richter says. "Using cookie cutters is a great way to make the sandwich much more appealing. Also, sometimes not going the traditional route. I know peanut butter is sometimes not allowed, so using things like a sunflower butter. You can also use yogurt with fun things to dip in it instead of a spoon, and there are even bars like the Cliff kids bar that actually has protein in it for them."

If your child prefers to pick at snacks instead of eating whole meals, embrace it. Simply load up a few healthy treats into cupcake holders, and you have a tapas or bento box-style lunch.

When it comes to crunchy snacks, parents often assume veggie treats are healthy, but not always. Read the labels! Some are high in fat, while others are not.

Last, don't forget about drinks.

"You want to make sure that your kid stays hydrated, but without giving them a ton of sugar, so you've got to start reading labels," Richter says.

So as you pack lunch, remember these tips because your healthy choices will serve as a good lesson for your kids. ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP