Kids Eat Right Month promotes healthy diets

August is Kids Eat Right Month, which encourages children to eat a nutritional, balanced diet. As part of the campaign, Grace Derocha is offering parents several tips to make sure kids are eating right. (Pioneer photo/ Catherine Sweeney)

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTIES — In preparation for the new school year and with August being Kids Eat Right Month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is reminding families of the importance of healthy eating.

Beginning a new school year can be chaotic, which makes it difficult to stay on task with eating right, Grace Derocha, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, said. However, there are steps parents can take to ensure their children are eating healthy meals.

“When kids eat right from an early age, they become healthy adults,” Derocha said. “Putting these habits into practice early puts kids on a journey that will follow them into adulthood.”

Some easy habits parents can practice with their kids are having an organized pantry so it’s easier to select proper food choices, trying new and creative recipes and getting kids involved in grocery shopping and meal preparation, she said.

“Having a conversation with your kids and allowing them to choose their food empowers them to be healthy eaters,” Derocha said.

Even for parents of picky eaters, Derocha said there are plenty of ways to ensure a child is getting the right amount of nutrients.

Having children try foods they don’t like multiple times as well as preparing foods in different ways are both methods parents can try to make sure their child has a healthy, balanced diet.

Derocha added having children try foods they’re afraid of eating is important, because it opens a child’s mind to trying an even larger variety of foods.

“If you never tried chocolate, you wouldn’t know that you liked it so much,” she said.

While it can be easy to lose motivation for eating right, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan suggests people combat this by planning ahead.

One thing they recommend is to set up a time in the beginning of each week to cut up fruits and vegetables, so they are readily available to kids all week.

“By eating right, kids can be stronger, faster and smarter,” Derocha said. “It allows them to stay healthy and do all the things they enjoy doing.”

For more ways to keep kids healthy during the school year, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.

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Posted by Catherine Sweeney

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