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Tips to help you eat right

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By Roberta Hunt

Several times this year, the topic for the 4-H News has been nutrition.  Even with the ready availability of safe, inexpensive food in the United States, so many of us eat on the run and don’t take the time to plan and eat nutritiously.  
Each March, the American Dietetic Association celebrates National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme has been, “Eat Right with Color.”  To help parents make sure that their kids eat right, the ADA and its Foundation have started a new website, www.kidseatright.org.
 Studies show that most young people are not getting enough calcium or potassium.  According to a press release from the ADA, the website is designed around a Shop, Cook and Eat theme that provides parents with tips and recipes to help families eat right.
An ADA spokesperson suggests adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to the plate to add variety.  A quick color guide includes green produce that indicates antioxidant potential, Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, purple and blue options may have antioxidant and may help with memory and urinary tract health, red indicates produce that may help maintain a healthy heart and vision and white, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote heart health.
Think of snacks as mini-meals and make them quick and healthy.  Remember portion control.  If you plan the snacks ahead of time, you can involve the kids in the planning and shopping and they will enjoy them more.  Also remember to keep snacks about 200-300 calories for those with an active life style.
Here are a few health snack suggestions for kids I found on the ADA website.  Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt, roll in crushed cereal and freeze. Stuff a whole –grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices with a dash of cinnamon. Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana for a “sandwich”. Microwave a small baked potato and top with reduced fat cheddar cheese and salsa.  Mix together ready-to-eat cereal with dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for a quick snack. Find other top 25 quick health snacks for kids on the ADA website.
As spring and summer approaches, everyone with active children will be spending more time at the local park for ballgames and on the run for other youth activities.  Spend a little time planning and shopping to make sure your family stays “charged” with energy and health for a fun and safe summer.
For more information on 4-H projects and activities, contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.