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Table techniques for kids

September 13, 2018
Kiki Angelos , MOV Parent

In order for children to develop a positive and healthy relationship with food, parents need to make the family meal table a happy and fun event, along with lots of communication and conversation, which is just important as what they are eating.

Make the meal time enjoyable and with less stress for everyone.

Small children also have a smaller stomach, where they do not have to consume as much as an adult, but with eating less and more often small snacks during the day. A large plate loaded down with food can be overwhelming for a small child, so let them fill up their own plate of food, selecting at least three different food items.

Encourage the children to try new and healthy foods by trying various and similar foods that they already eat and like. For example, substitute a sliced up banana instead of jelly for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

If your child likes mashed potatoes, then you can switch them to a sweet potato or cooked carrots or so on. Many times the children like the looks and texture of a food more so than the flavor, so even try giving them crunchy veggies rather than cooked veggies. Make sure you add an abundance of veggies when you make a soup or casseroles and meatloaf, the same as you can also hide fruits in muffins, cookies and pancakes.

To make dinner more fun, you might implement a "new food night" for both you and your family, try one or two new entrees.

During the summer it would also be nice if you can plant a small garden with several different items so they have hands on time and they can see and how the various foods develop and grow, making it an educational and fun affair.

Also, keep in mind that you can do many different things to make what they are eating more fun, like placing a stick in your meatballs to make they look like a lollipop or form pizza into their initial.

Lots of children love to try different dressing and dips, and yogurt make great dip for foods and don't forget the low-fat salad dressings or melted cheese make veggies much more appealing.

Some parents worry that their children are not eating enough, although they are growing at a normal rate, and force them to clear their plates which is not recommended, plus keep in mind when they are hungry they will eat and when they are full they will hopefully stop..

Until next month!

Rigatoni Salad

12 ounces cooked rigatoni pasta

1-2 cups chopped green, such as spinach or crisp lettuce

1 10-ounce bag frozen snowpeas or sugar snap peas, thawed

8 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/2 red onion, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1/3 to 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese in a large salad bowl. Toss gently to mix and coat all ingredients. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Crunchy Turkey Pita Pockets

1 cup diced cooked turkey or reduced-sodium deli turkey breast

1/2 cup packaged coleslaw mix

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup shredded carrots

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey mustard

2 6-inch whole wheat pita bread rounds

Combine turkey, coleslaw mix, cranberries, carrots, mayonnaise and mustard in small bowl; mix well. Cut pita rounds in half; fill with turkey mixture.

Chicken Roll-Ups

2 1/2 cups marinara sauce

4 4-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cups baby spinach leaves

4 slices low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Coat bottom of baking dish with 1 cup marinara. Place on chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap on cutting board. Pound with rolling pin or meat mallet until chicken is about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken. Press 1/2 cup spinach leaves on each chicken breast. Place 1 slice mozzarella cheese on each and roll up tightly, pressing firmly. Place rolls, seam sides down, in prepared baking dish. Cover with remaining marinara sauce. Cover with foil; bake 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese.

Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.



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