Three nutrition resolutions your family should make this New Year

Ten!  Nine!  Ate!

Well, I know I may have indulged a little too much over the last few days! Does anyone else feel the same way?  It’s time to get myself back on track.  The New Year presents us with a fresh opportunity to make a healthy commitment to ourselves and our families.

Little changes can make a BIG impact on the health of your family.  By swapping a few items and adding a fresh idea, your entire family can have their healthiest eating year yet.  I urge you to make all of these changes, but do them one at a time.  Pick the resolution that is easiest for your family, then add another one every month or two. 

So in true New Year’s style, here’s a Healthy Kid’s nutrition resolution countdown…

3.  Go vegetarian…once a week.  The documented benefits of a vegetarian diet are countless, from increased vitamin and fiber intake to the lower incidence of heart disease and some cancers as an adult. However, the thought of going completely meat-free can be daunting for a family. The idea of “Meatless Mondays” has received a lot of attention in the news.  So consider cutting out meat for one day, and substitute with beans, soy protein, low-fat dairy, and nuts.  For more ideas and trusted information, visit the Vegetarian Resource Group at www.vrg.org

2.  Make the switch to whole grains.  The change from white pasta, breads, and rice to their healthier brown versions will give your family the benefits from fiber.  Change one item at a time:  start with bread, move to pasta, and then rice.  Look for the word “whole” in front of the grains listed in the ingredients to make sure you are getting the best product.

1.  Offer fruits and vegetables five times a day.  It probably sounds like a lot, but it’s what kids need.  The more produce available, the more likely your kids will eat it.  If you offer both these food groups during  meals and as snacks, your family will slowly start to replace some of the unhealthy snack and side dishes  with healthier options. 

Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy 2013!

Beth Wallace, a registered dietitian at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has more than six years of experience in providing nutrition care for children and adolescents.

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