Many children start staying at school for lunch in the early elementary years.
And there is not always a cafeteria. In many high schools, students can leave campus with a parent’s signature. This opens things up and allows them to go out into town with friends. What can we give them for the road? Is there a simple way to provide our children with healthy nutrition?
A rule as simple as, “The food on your plate should always be colorful,” can help. Have you and your child ever taken a good look at a plate of burgers and fries? Unless a lonely tomato and lettuce leaf have wandered in — which might not make it into the child’s mouth — we just see pale yellow and brownish components. Now that’s a monotonous plate of food! A fruit slice isn’t just the color accent, but it’s pretty small compared to the overall mass of food on the plate.
How would a colorful plate look? The burger could be surrounded by a tossed salad, carrots, broccoli and peas. The fries could be replaced by mashed potatoes with chopped parsley.
We know that fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and valuable secondary plant nutrients. These substances are also found in legumes and nuts, seeds, whole grain products and potatoes — our bodies need them, and they have positive effects.
High intake of secondary plant nutrients through fruit and vegetables is extremely positive:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer
- Improved function of the blood vessels
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects
Let’s look at the plate again:
Carrots, broccoli and peas are rich in vitamins A, D, E and C, betacarotene, saponins, sulfides, albumen, zinc and selenium. The skin gets support against UV rays, and heart attacks and cancer are prevented. Cholesterol and bile acid are bound and we are protected from intestinal cancer. Potatoes help strengthen the immune system. A veal cutletcontains a lot of albumen and is actually very low in fat — after breading and preparation in oil, it’s barely recognizable. It contains lots of minerals, such as iron, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. Vitamin D and some B complex vitamins, like B12, are also found in veal.
Colorful eating is an opportunity to help children choose their food and to give them a skill to carry throughout their lives.
If you have a yearning for color, why not plan a fruit salad with your kids? It’s even better with fruit that’s in season. Preparing it together is fun and a real festival of color.
Grapes Pears Apricots Apples Plums Pineapple Bananas Raspberries Strawberries Blackberries Cherries Watermelon Pomegranate Pink Grapefruit Peaches Mangos Oranges Kiwis Avocados Melons Blueberries