(Family Features) - While today's kids are bombarded with messages to eat sugary cereals, candy and high fat treats, parents struggle to provide healthy alternatives. With a little effort, there are ways to offer great-tasting nutritious foods that still have plenty of kid appeal. The best foods for children are ones that satisfy hunger, supply energy and provide important nutrients.
For Food-Sensitive Children
Many Boar's Head meats and cheeses have qualified to be included on the Feingold Association list for persons on food-sensitive diets. The Feingold Association is a non- profit organization that raises awareness of the potential role food and synthetic additives may have on behavior, learning and health problems.
- Fruits and vegetables provide a feeling of fullness with no fat and only a small amount of calories as well as important nutrients.
- Dairy products supply growing children with the extra calcium they need. Make sure sandwiches or wraps include cheese.
- Whole grain snacks are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and offer immediate energy that has staying power.
- Meats including turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham and bologna supply protein, iron and zinc. Boar's Head Ovengold, made with 100 percent oven-roasted turkey breast, has been cited by numerous publications as the best tasting.
Visit www.boarshead.com or call 800-352-6277 for nutritional information on all Boar's Head products or for a listing of products included on the Feingold food list.
If your child loves ...
High-fat potato chips or French fries, try vegetable chips or low-fat microwave popcorn, which is high in fiber.
Sugary rolled up fruit snacks, try small boxes of raisins or frozen fruit and juice bars. Or for added nutrition, cut up Boar's Head Maple Glazed Honey Coat Ham or Turkey and mix with cubes of cantaloupe or honeydew melon for a sweet nutritious snack.
Chicken nuggets, offer homemade macaroni and cheese or roll up a slice of turkey, chicken, ham or roast beef with a slice of cheese. Spear with a pretzel stick and use as an alternative finger food.
If at first you don't succeed ...
Dress up fruits and vegetables. Slather celery with peanut butter, or provide low-fat dip for carrots. Offer crackers with several varieties of cheese. Cut vegetables into fun shapes to provide visual appeal.
Make eating an event. Set aside time to eat together and discourage kids from eating while watching TV. You'll enjoy quality time and have a chance to monitor your child's food intake, too.
Offer variety. For a change, try cheese slices, fresh fruit, crackers and rolled up deli meats instead of a sandwich. Boar's Head Ham, sliced fresh at the supermarket deli counter, is made with only the finest cuts of meat, without fillers, by-products, artificial flavors or colors -- and it tastes great. Or try one of their 30 types of cheeses, especially their popular American, which is known for its creaminess.
Is That Real Cheese?
Cheese, one of the oldest processed foods known to man, is a concentrated dairy product made from milk that has been transformed into soft solids known as curds and a liquid known as whey. The whey is then removed, leaving fresh cheese curd, which is then stirred, heated, salted and/or treated with brine. Some cheeses are also treated to modify their flavor and taste and they are ripened over time.
Two criteria used by the Food and Drug Administration to define cheese are moisture and milk fat contents. There are a number of different types of processed cheeses specified by the FDA that must be shown on the product label. Here's what they mean:
Processed American cheese is the purest form of American cheese and is made from cheddar, colby, cheese curd, granular cheese or a combination thereof. It contains 51 percent of the cheese ingredient and a moisture content of 44 percent or less and 23 percent milk fat. Boar's Head American Cheese contains 40 percent moisture and is made with more natural cheddar than most for a distinct, creamy flavor.
Cheese food is a variation of processed cheese that can contain whey, powdered whey, non-fat dry milk and other fillers. This variety is often found in the individually wrapped singles in the dairy case.
Cheese spread is an altered version of cheese food that may contain sweetener and stabilizing agents and must be spreadable at 70 degrees.
Cheese product doesn't meet the FDA moisture/milkfat standards and may contain milk protein concentrates, and casein instead of cheese.
Imitation cheese is made mostly from casein and soy oils and doesn't melt well.
A good tasting, nutritious sandwich provides kids with energy for the day's activities and helps their bodies to grow. Here, a classic turkey and cheese sandwich packs nutrition and taste. Take two pieces of whole wheat bread, and on one, layer two slices of Boar's Head Ovengold Turkey, one slice of Boar's Head American cheese, two tomato slices and lettuce leaves. Top with remaining slice of bread.