Now that we have determine what times are appropriate for meals and snacks and when we need to plan ahead for food outside of our normal routines, we can talk about what goes into the meals. For this, I will refer you to MyPlate. We no longer have dietary recommendations based on the food guide pyramid but rather a standard format for meals using a plate! MyPlate gives us a flexible structure for each meal and snack. As a parent, you have the responsibility to choose what goes into each meal and snack. Listed below are some recommendations for how best to plan for growing families:
• Be consistent with the veggies. Kids may make a fuss about them but they are important. Set a ‘one bite rule’ that encourages the kids to at least try ‘one bite’ of everything offered. Enough times of them trying ‘one bite’ and they will learn to like a variety of vegetables. (Be careful not to force them to eat the whole portion as this will not help your cause.)
• Make sure there is at least one item on the table that everyone likes so the family feels safe trying new foods. This does not mean catering to individual people. You are the parent and you get to choose the foods
are present at the table.
• Enjoy the seasons. Choosing produce from your current season keeps menu planning simple and also provides a good schedule for introducing new foods to your kids.
• Make the meals and snacks complete by including foods from all the food categories: carbohydrate, protein and fat. For example, offer apples with peanut butter as a snack. The apple is a carbohydrate and the peanut butter is both protein and fat.
• Start simple and grow as you become more comfortable. Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose main courses your family enjoys and add more complicated items as you grow in your skill.
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