Tag Archives: feeding children

Navigating the College Cafeteria

I had the privilege of coaching some college athletes over the summer.  They were happy with our work together, but worried about how to keep up their new healthy eating habits in the college cafeteria.  Here are my quick tips:

  1. Don’t head straight for the line! Take a breath and ask yourself, “How can I nourish myself?” This question serves you better than, “What is there to eat?”
  2. Walk around and ask what’s at the salad bar? Pasta bar? Main and side dishes? Even check the dessert bar for granola, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Use the available foods creatively to make your own meal that fuels your brain and body. Seek plants!
  4. Breakfast ideas: Oatmeal- stir in berries, nuts, cinnamon Yogurt parfait- choose Greek to punch up the protein and add fruit, berries, nuts, and cinnamon Cereal- increase the nutrient density by avoiding artificial colors and added sugars while choosing plain Cheerios or granola and adding fruit, berries, nuts, and seeds Pancakes or waffles- choose just one instead of a stack and add yogurt to the top with (you guessed it) fruit and berries
  5. Snack ideas- use a little creative thievery. Take an apple, banana, or orange to go. Bring a quart or gallon baggie and make your own trail mix using the breakfast and/or dessert bar. Pour in whole grain cereal or granola, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, a (few) pretzels for salty balance, and some (few) chocolate chips or M&M’s
  6. Lunch- again, walk around and see what is available and treat offerings like ingredients. Doing a colorful basic salad is a great choice, but you may lose interest some days. Take broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. and microwave to “al dente.” Stir into ½ cup of pasta, rice, over baked potato, or quinoa (yes, they got the memo.) Add a bit of dressing and you have a nice dish! Put a bunch of veggies in a bowl and pour soup over it for phytonutrient power. Chili today? Make a taco salad and pour some chili over it for a Mexican treat. Make your own bruschetta! Pop some bread in the toaster. While you wait for toast, get tomatoes in a bowl and go for the salad herb area. Stir olive oil, garlic, basil, and a dash of Parmesan in with the tomatoes (cut them up a bit). Spread the mixture over the now complete toast- Yum!
  7. Dinner- use the same creative ideas. Use the healthy plate reference to remind yourself of proportion. Half your plate is vegetables, ¼ lean protein (fish, beans, quinoa, grilled chicken), ¼ whole grain or starchy vegetable like sweet potato, squash, beets, or baked potato (with skin).
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For Kids, Optimal Nutrition means Optimal Development

Feeding children well has been a hot topic amongst parents for at least the last fourteen years.  That’s when I was pregnant with my first baby and began paying keen attention to the matter.  “Back then” organic was a little known concept out of California, micronutrients were a mystery, and no one had heard of Omega-3’s.  Even so, at playgroup, school pick-up, and on the ball-field, chat often turned to nutrition.

Over the last decade,  science has supported the fact that feeding children well is essential.  Studies have shown over and over that children who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains have the brain function to achieve academically, have the energy to perform well in sports, and the focus that allows for creativity in art and music.   Kids who eat well feel great and do their very best. 

With so much information now out on the subject, many parents need guidance.  I recommend reading Dr. William Sears’ “Family Nutrition Book” as well as “Nutrition Deficit Disorder.”  These thoroughly, yet simply, explain exactly how to keep your child’s daily nutrition optimal.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Disease Proof Your Child” is also excellent.  Web MD has a great top 10 foods list that serves as a quick reference guide.    http://children.webmd.com/child-nutrition-8/brain-foods-for-children?page=2

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