Kids thrive with the power of five, two-bite rule and a digestion boost
I have two teenage girls and they will eat just about anything. And guess what? They have been this way since pre-school! As a certified dietitian, I knew how important it was to educate my girls about healthy eating since they were just beginning to cruise from the coffee table to the couch. Two approaches I
used to transform these little humans into foodies were the Power of Five and Two-Bite rules.
Power of Five
My girls liked to help me pack their pre-school lunches. They had to make sure they had five groups of food in their cute little My Little Pony and Dora the Explorer lunch bags. The five food groups are whole grains, protein, dairy, vegetables, and fruit.
Here are some examples of choices they had for each food group:
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat crackers
- Nitrate-free deli turkey
- Nitrate free deli ham
- Tuna fish
- Peanut butter
- Low-fat cheese stick
- Greek yogurt
- Chocolate milk
- Crudites (carrots, bell peppers, celery)
- Cherry tomatoes
- An apple, orange, or banana
You can also combine food groups. Sandwiches are the obvious example. A hummus, lettuce, tomato and cheese sandwich has all groups! You can make ants on a log with celery (celery, peanut butter, raisins). Greek yogurt with granola and berries is a favorite for one of my girls. It’s a fun challenge for kids of all ages to try to include all groups.
Kids’ taste buds are constantly changing. For every new food my children would try, I would instruct them to take at least two bites. If they didn’t like what they were eating, I would ask them if it was a flavor or texture issue. This helped me to learn their preferences and I educated them about how their preferences may change.
Recently, my husband made shrimp scampi for dinner. My oldest daughter wanted just the pasta and veggies, not the shrimp. She reminded me how the last time she had shrimp (when she was still in elementary school), she didn’t like the texture. I told her to try a piece and see if she still didn’t like it. Turns out, she loved it!
The Digestion Boost
The foundation of being healthy starts in the gut. A healthy gut means a healthy immune system and a healthy mood too (90 percent of your “happy” neurotransmitter, serotonin is produced in your gut)! Even the healthiest of diets may not have enough fiber or probiotics to assure that your hut is healthy.
So, I give my teenage girls a Vitamini berry banana gut health shot every morning for a digestion boost. It’s healthy, safe, and gives them five grams of fiber in each shot! Give the Power of Five, Two-Bite rule, and Digestion Boost a try! I have even encouraged adult patients to try it too.
By Kelly Springer, MS, RD, CDN