Grow healthy eaters

Healthy eating should be an ongoing family conversation, suggests Ziporah Janowski, co-owner of Camp Shane, the longest running weight loss camp for children. By focusing on “good food,” children learn how to eat healthy. 

Parents and children can work together to choose new menus that redefine healthier food choices.  Janowski suggests families shop together at farmers’ markets, local healthy food stores and even join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), which provide and support healthy options over processed foods.  Check out, and for alternative healthy shopping choices near you. When children learn how to shop and make good food choices while selecting their own food to eat, they’re more likely to be a lifelong healthy eater.

Making healthy snack choices
Snacking can be one of the biggest problems when it comes to keeping your children healthy. Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit: A Family Plan for Raising Active, Healthy Kids and founder of ACEWS (All Kids Exercise Simultaneously) offers these tips for healthy snacking:

• Reduce snacks before meals.
• Allow children to pick their own healthy snacks such as frozen banana slices, frozen yogurt sticks, pizza muffins, fruit kabobs, smoothies, trail mix and orange juice ice pops.
• Control snack portions. Be sure to give children a child’s portion, instead of an adult size.
• Include vegetables in every meal or snack.
• Avoid serving processed foods and those with artificial sweeteners.
• Provide your child with a morning and afternoon snack each day.
• Eliminate non-nutritive beverages like soda and artificial fruit juices.

Preparing healthy smoothie recipes
Need a quick pick-me-up or a fun after school snack? By keeping easy-to-prepare healthy recipes at your fingertips, you can prevent the need to grab or buy processed or sugar-filled items. To jump-start your recipe collection, here are three quick and easy recipes that even the kids can whip up.

Blueberry-Orange Whirl:
In an electric blender, blend 1 12-ounce package frozen blueberries (thawed) or 2 ½ cups fresh, 1 8-ounce low fat vanilla yogurt, ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup milk and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.—Compliments of Camp Shane

 Fruit Smoothie:
Mix together in a blender: 1 cup milk or plan yogurt, 1 banana, 3 strawberries or 1/3 cup blueberries.—Compliments of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater

Picker-Upper Protein Drink:
Blend 1 sliced banana, 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup orange juice, 4 tablespoons honey, 8 ounces silken tofu and 8 ice cubes for two minutes or until frothy.

Mary Jo Rulnick is the author of The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Feeding Family and Friends.