Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day! Plus 3 Simple Tips

shutterstock_162237674Teaching your children about good nutrition is one thing, but giving them the opportunity to put what they’ve learned into action is another. This Sunday, make it a point to let kids and teens spend some quality time in the kitchen in honor of National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day.

Created to encourage children and teenagers to become more engaged in all aspects of meal planning and preparation, Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day has a health-focused goal: helping families nationwide take an important step toward overcoming the health and social issues linked to the eating habits of American youth—including making important changes to help fight the rise of obesity and related conditions. Before the kitchen fun begins, here are three simple tips to help you open a dialogue with your kids about the importance of good nutrition.

  1. Talk to Your Kids about Sugar
    When kids understand the consequences of a high-sugar diet, they are more likely to make healthier choices on their own. Even small steps like teaching them to spot added sugars on food labels and replacing sugary drinks with water can go a long way toward helping them become healthier adults.
  2. Tout the Benefits Fruits & Veggies
    Pre-packaged meals and snacks may be convenient, but they are often heavily processed and offer little (if any) nutritional value. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with beneficial fiber and vitamins and minerals—and most are naturally low in sugar and calories. Show kids how simple it is to cut up their favorite fruits and veggies to have on hand for easy snacking, and encourage them to be creative about adding them to meals.
  3. Teach them to Power Up with Protein
    Not only is protein considered an important building block for the body, but starting each day with a protein-rich breakfast (and snacking on protein throughout the day) supports healthy blood sugar levels to help kids stay satisfied throughout the day. Great sources of protein are lean poultry, meat, and seafood as well as eggs, tofu, tempeh, cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and nuts.

Need a few healthful and delicious recipe ideas simple enough for young chefs? Check out the Renew Life Recipe Center for inspiration!


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Fruit & Veggies—More Matters Month (Plus Recipes!)

shutterstock_144537737Are you getting enough fruit and vegetables in your daily diet? How about the rest of your family? September is the perfect month to take a good look at what we’re putting on our plates and think about making a few simple changes for lifelong health.

Fruit & Veggies—More Matters® is a nationwide health initiative aimed at helping families and individuals eat more fresh produce for optimal nutrition and wellness. Not only are fruit and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals, but most are naturally low in sugar and calories, chock full of fiber, and provide endless possibilities for nutritious meals and snacks! Here are two of our favorite recipes to help you get started:

Greens-on-the-Go Juice
Serves 1
⅓ small cucumber
2 ribs celery
1 cup trimmed kale
1 cup baby spinach
3 sprigs parsley
Juice from 1 lemon wedge
¼ Granny Smith apple

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender or juicer. Blend until smooth; pour and enjoy!

Rise and Shine Fruit & Nut Parfait
Serves 1
¼ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple with skin, cored and chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup raw almonds,* chopped
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 mint leaves

Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, gently fold fruit, nuts, and cinnamon into yogurt. Transfer to an individual serving dish; garnish with mint leaves and serve.

*All nuts should be soaked overnight.

Simple End-of-Summer Veggie Soup
Serves 8
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
½ cup sliced carrots
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
5 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups purified water
One 15-ounce can light kidney beans, drained
Two 16-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in celery, vegetables, and herbs. Add broth, water, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes (or until cabbage is wilted). Serve hot.


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