Tips, Tools and Activities
June is National Safety Month! While it is important to be safe in all aspects of life, this month’s focus on food safety. If food is not cooked or stored safely, it has the potential to cause serious illness to your family. There are easy steps you can take towards having a safer kitchen. First, make sure you have a food thermometer and look up the minimum cooking temperatures for the foods you are cooking. Get the kids involved by making it an art project. Have them draw or paint different food items and write what temperature they need to be cooked to. Also, remember to not cross-contaminate fruits and vegetables with meat and poultry. Designate one cutting board for fruits and vegetables and another for meat and poultry. Lastly, check expiration dates of foods before eating them or serving them to your family. Implementing these three easy steps can keep your family safe in the kitchen this month.
The summer months can be a busy time. It can feel like you are always running out the door to drive your kids to a sporting event, the pool or day camp. When you are on the go it is easy to stop for fast food or eat packaged snacks. Make it a goal this month to pack some fresh fruits or vegetables for snack time. If you know the days that your family will be on the go, spend a few minutes the night before cutting up fruits and vegetables and put them in individual, easy-to-grab baggies. Another great snacking idea is to make your own trail mix. This is a great way to get the kids involved with making their own healthy snacks. Have them choose from a variety of nuts and no-sugar added dried fruit. They can practice portion sizes as well by using dry measuring cups.
Play Every Day
It is important that your children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Staying safe is also important for physical activity. Make sure that if the kids are out in the hot sun they are drinking plenty of water so that they can play safely. Stretching is also important for staying safe while being physically active. Stretching can improve flexibility and prevent injuries. This month, spend 5 minutes before bedtime to stretch as a family. This is a great way to get the kids away from their video games and television shows and add some extra physical activity to the end of the day. Stretching is also a good way to help the kids relax before bedtime so they sleep better.
Q: Should I give my child healthy foods to counterbalance the unhealthy foods?
A: Adding additional calories may contribute to overeating. Instead, think about counter-balancing with a meal rich in vitamins and minerals, and the sometime food can be in addition to the other nutritious foods. Focus on providing a variety of foodsâ€”fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins like fish and chicken. These foods will promote healthy growth and development by providing the nutrients your child needs.