Family & Children Health Healthy Kids Healthy Cooking for Kids

Getting kids involved in cooking is one way to encourage healthful eating. If they help prepare it, they just may eat it. Following are suggestions, tips, the best and worst foods for kids, plus some healthy recipes you're children are sure to enjoy!

An eating regimen that is too rigid or rigorous also has pitfalls. Moderation is the key to success.

As children develop good eating habits, praise them. Reward an all out good effort with an occasional non-edible treat, such as a movie pass or tickets to a ball game.

Do not expect immediate results. Changing eating and exercise habits gradually offers a much better chance that your child will make them a way of life.

It may be more convenient to feed kids smaller meals and give them nutritious nibbles between meals when they are hungry. That is one way to sneak in fruits and vegetables when the kids are not expecting them and are the most likely to eat them because they are hungry. See also: Easy Ways to Eat More Fruit

Remember to combine different colors and textures at mealtime to make it more interesting and enticing.

The Worst and Best Foods for Kids
Following are ten of the worst children's foods, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The Worst:
- Soda
- Hamburgers
- Hot dogs
- Ice cream
- Bologna
- Whole milk
- American cheese
- French fries and Tater Tots
- Pizza loaded with cheese and meat
- Chocolate bars

The Best:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (especially carrot sticks, cantaloupe, - - oranges, watermelon, strawberries)
- Chicken breast and drumstick without skin or breading
- Cheerios, Wheaties or other whole-grain, low-sugar cereals
- Skim or 1-percent milk
- Extra-lean ground beef or vegetable burgers
- Low fat hot dogs
- Non-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Fat free corn chips or potato chips
- Seasoned air-popped popcorn
- Whole wheat crackers or Small World animal crackers
- "Build-Your-Own" Recipes for Kids

Pita Pockets:
Put out whole wheat pita breads sliced in half, small pieces of sliced turkey breast or low fat cheese and vegetables such as lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced cucumbers and bean sprouts. Let the diners spice up their sandwiches with mustard, cranberry sauce or salsa.

Baked Potato:
Offer healthful toppings for baked potatoes such as grated part-skim Parmesan cheese, plain non-fat yogurt flavored with curry or dill, ratatouille, vegetables sauteed in water or a little oil, canned (without salt) or frozen peas and salsa.

Chef's Salad:
Set out washed and torn lettuce, fresh spinach, diced turkey and lean ham, low fat cheese, hard-cooked eggs or egg whites, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and carrots. Serve fresh bread on the side.

Offer cooked ground turkey, cooked kidney or black beans (drained if using canned), hot sauce, black olives, cooked rice, torn-up lettuce, diced tomatoes and warmed flour tortillas.

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