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Shape Up Summer Eating Habits

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Chicken Fingers With Dipping Sauces

(Family Features) - When school ends, life doesn't slow down. You still juggle kids' activities, work and family time - making it a challenge to eat healthy and control calories.

Studies show that kids tend to gain more weight during the summer. To help keep your kids healthy this summer, follow these practical tips from the American Heart Association.

Dealing With a Picky Eater

Getting a picky eater to eat a nutritious meal doesn't have to be a battle. Here are some things to try:

  • Add healthy fruits and vegetables to foods that your child already likes. For example, add blueberries to pancakes, carrots to muffins, fruit slices to a bowl of cereal, chunks of bell pepper to potato salad, or shredded veggies over rice.
  • Include your kids when you grocery shop. By being involved in choosing the foods at the grocery store they may be more likely to eat it. When your kids shop with you, have them look for the heart-check mark that shows which foods are certified by the American Heart Association to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Keep healthy foods on hand - water or 100 percent juice instead of colas or fruit drinks, and a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.
  • Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are great finger-food options.
  • Repeal the "clean your plate" rule, even if your child loads a plate up with more food than they can eat. Kids know when they're full, so let them stop and help them learn to take smaller servings next time.
  • Don't cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of cookies is okay occasionally. If you cut out goodies, your kids will be more likely to over indulge when they get them.

Take Control of Portion Sizes

Portion size has a lot to do with why our kids are struggling with their weight - our kids are getting far more calories than they need.

To control portions, know what is considered a normal portion. You may be surprised to learn these are serving sizes:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup rice or pasta (cooked)
  • 1 small piece of fruit (a super-large apple is 2+ servings)
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw leafy vegetable
  • 3/4 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 2 ounces cheese (about the size of a domino)
  • 2 to 3 ounces meat, poultry or fish (this is about the size of a deck of cards)

Make Fast Food Friendlier

If you eat on the go, use these tips to make fast food healthier for both your kids and yourself:

  • Pass on the value size. When you increase the size, your bucket of fries isn't the only thing that gets bigger.
  • Skip the sides. Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough. If you do want a side, consider ordering fruit or a side salad instead of French fries.
  • Avoid double meat and bacon. You're probably getting more than you need with a single meat patty. Bacon is high in calories and fat with little nutrient content.
  • Try the grilled chicken sandwich. Poultry without skin is significantly leaner than the meats most fast-food companies use in their burgers. Beware of breaded deep fried chicken, which is loaded with calories and fat.
  • Eat your sandwich open-faced. By eating only half the bun, you can eliminate calories.
  • Pay attention to the calories in condiments - choose mustard instead of mayo or other calorie-laden dressings and sauces.
  • Drink water, diet soda or low-fat milk. Regular sodas are loaded with sugars, which have calories you don't need.

The best way to influence kids is by example. Be a good role model - your family's health depends on it.

To learn more about healthy eating, visit www.americanheart.org.

Shop smart! Live well! Look for the heart-check mark!

All products bearing the heart-check mark meet the American Heart Association's nutrition criteria per standard serving size to be:

  • Low in fat (3 grams or less)
  • Low in saturated fat (1 gram or less)
  • Limited in trans fat (less than .5 grams)
  • Low in cholesterol (20 milligrams or less)
  • Moderate in sodium, with 480 milligrams or less for individual foods
  • Contain at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of one or more of these naturally occurring nutrients: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron or dietary fiber.

Also:

  • Seafood, game meat, meat and poultry, as well as whole-grain products, main dishes and meals must meet additional nutritional requirements.

Make Grocery Shopping Fun and Easy

Grocery shopping isn't always easy with your kids in tow, but you can change that.

When headed to the grocery store, be organized and have a plan. Start by building your free, heart-healthy grocery list at heartcheckmark.org. Create your list from hundreds of products certified by the American Heart Association to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol. You can add other needed items. The result is a personalized and organized grocery list sorted by category that you can save for future use and print or access from your Web-enabled mobile phone or PDA.

Once at the grocery store, engage your kids in a nutrition game that keeps them focused and more manageable. Ask them to help you look for the heart-check mark on foods. Whoever spots the most heart-check marks wins the game. The kids stay entertained and you know the foods you're selecting are heart-healthy and part of a sensible eating plan.

Chicken Fingers With Dipping Sauces

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, all visible fat discarded
  • Vegetable oil spray
Coating Mixture
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce
  • 1/4 cup fat-free or light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Blackberry Dipping Sauce
  • 1/4 cup all-fruit seedless blackberry spread
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free or light mayonnaise
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation
    1. Put yogurt in medium bowl. Add chicken, stirring to coat. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. In another medium bowl, stir together coating mixture ingredients.
    3. Dip one piece of chicken at a time in the coating mixture, turning gently to coat. Arrange chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lightly spray chicken with vegetable oil spray.
    4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and coating is crisp.
    5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the desired sauce.
    6. Serve chicken fingers with sauce on the side.
    7. This recipe is reprinted with permission from Healthy Recipes Kids Love, Copyright (c) 2008 by the American Heart Association. Published by Publications International, Ltd. Available at online at www.shopheart.org.

Calories: 320g     Total Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 71mg     Protein: 35g
Carbohydrates: 37g     Sodium: 477mg

Serves
Serves 4

SOURCE: American Heart Association



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