5 Tips for Moms to Make Healthy Food for Kids

California Raisin Marketing Board, along with authors, Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD – also known as The Meal Makeover Moms – is offering tips to help parents across the U.S. send unhealthy meals and snacks packing!

Along with advice from the moms, California Raisin growers are also launching a new, easy-to-enter contest called: Let’s re-Do Lunch.

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Going through November 8, healthy lunch and snack makeover photos and tips can be uploaded to the California Raisins Facebook Page for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize, a year’s supply of California Raisin snack packs, and a donation in the contest winner’s name to the food bank of their choice.

You can go to www.loveyourraisins.com for access to the contest and other information.

For healthy eating ideas, Bissex and Weiss share the following top five tips from their new book, No Whine with Dinner:

1 – Take a Lunch Box Assessment: A lunch box makeover may be as simple as adding an extra serving of fruit or swapping white bread for whole wheat. Take a look at what you typically pack for lunch and snacks to be sure all the nutritional bases are covered. Here’s what to look for:

Whole grains: Whole wheat bread, pitas, tortillas, whole grain cinnamon raisin bread or whole grain bagels

High-quality lean protein: Roasted deli turkey or chicken, reduced-fat sliced cheeses, beans, peanut butter, tofu or hard-boiled eggs

Low-fat dairy: Low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and calcium-fortified soy milk

Fruits and vegetables: Sliced apples, strawberries, dried fruit such as California raisins, sliced bell pepper strips, baby carrots, or crunchy raw green beans

2 – Try-it Foods: Expand your child’s lunch box meal and snack repertoire by playing the “try-it” game. On weekly trips to the grocery store, have the kids choose a colorful and nutritious food they have never tried before – perhaps a new fruit or vegetable such as yellow bell pepper, sugar snap peas, star fruit or papaya. Bring it home, sample it, and consider the new “try-it food” for the lunch box that week.

3 – Switch to a Bento Box: Kids love finger foods, and bento boxes make packing little bites of colorful and tasty morsels easy. Turn a sandwich into a feast for the eyes: use star, heart, or circle cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, cheese or tofu into fun shapes. If you don’t have cookie cutters, use a knife to slice them into strips or triangles. Balance the protein with mini-size foods such as muffins, raisins, whole grain pretzels, snow peas or oatmeal raisin cookies. Bento lunches make it easier than ever to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s day.

4 – New Flavor Sensations: Tempt kids’ taste buds with new sandwich spreads and fillings. Switch from the usual mayo and mustard to new bread spreads, like basil pesto, honey mustard, hummus, barbecue sauce, or Caesar dressing. For between-meat fillers, try interesting cheeses such as sliced pepper jack, thinly sliced avocado, baby spinach leaves, or thin slices of cucumber.

5 – Satisfying Snacks: A hearty and healthy mid-morning snack can hold your child over until lunch. Make snacks count toward good nutrition by packing fruit, or homemade baked “goodies” such as muffins, quick breads, or “granola” bars. Enhance your recipes by adding whole wheat flour or wheat germ for added fiber and nutrients, dried fruits such as California raisins for added antioxidants, and finely chopped nuts for extra protein.

A State Marketing Order in 1998 created the California Raisin Marketing Board and it is 100 percent grower funded. Its mission is to support and promote the increased use of California-grown raisins and sponsor crop production, nutrition and market research.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman