March is National Nutrition Month (NNM), and this year’s theme is Eat Right with Color. To show our readers and listeners some new ways to do that, we invited fellow dietitian Melissa Halas-Liang to join us on this week’s Cooking with the Moms. Melissa is a mom, so she understands the importance of good nutrition for kids. Her passion for feeding families comes across in a big way on her website, Super Kids Nutrition, where Melissa showcases an adorable team of cartoon kids called the Super Crew who get super powers from eating a colorful array of healthy foods.
We’re especially fond of Super Baby Abigail who gets her x-ray vision, super smarts, and ability to fly from all colors of healthy foods … and we adore Andy whose craving for healthy orange foods fuels his love of sports and the great outdoors. Visit the site with your kids and see which characters pique their interest!
We caught up with Melissa via Skype for a lesson on phytochemicals. When Melissa talks to kids, she refers to these natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, herbs, and spices as “fight-o-chemicals.” They protect plants from pollution, the elements, predators, etc., and when we eat them, we’re protected too … from heart disease, certain cancers, memory loss, and diseases associated with aging. She also shared many of her creative tips for getting kids to eat more color.
Here are just a few of the highlights from our show:
> To increase the color of your family’s diet, Melissa suggests the following:
* Plant a garden. While that may be a bit tough right now in New England, kids everywhere can certainly start planting seeds next month.
* Start Meatless Monday in your home to encourage everyone to try new recipes, colors, and textures.
* Use her Super Food Colorful Food Tracker where kids get to fill in tiny hearts every time they eat a different color.
> If your child shuns vegetables, fruit can certainly serve as a stand in, but never give up on vegetables!
* Have your child find a new vegetable to try at the supermarket.
* Tweak your usual veggie recipes and textures to see if your mini changes spark your child’s taste buds.
* Try less familiar vegetables (perhaps jicama, celery, or sugar snap peas) to ignite your child’s veggie curiosity.
TO ENTER OUR LATEST GIVEAWAY for Melissa’s books, post a comment on our blog (or Facebook) with your best tip for adding more color to your family’s diet. Whether it’s a clever strategy for weaving more beans into your weekly menus or a recent success with a new vegetable, we’d love to hear from you. We will enter you into the giveaway a second, third, and/or fourth time if you …
* Subscribe to our RSS feed
* Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post
* “Like” us on Facebook and/or share the giveaway news with your Facebook friends with a link back to the post
Please be sure to leave us a new comment every time you do something extra …. and GOOD LUCK! The giveaway ends on March 18th at noon, and as always we’ll use random.org to pick our winner.
For more blog posts on National Nutrition Month from registered dietitians, visit Nutrition Blog Network.