March is National Nutrition Month - celebrate by teaching kids the importance of food, nutrition and eating skills: food to fuel busy, successful lives; nutrition to nourish strong bodies and smart brains; and eating skills to enjoy the social aspect of meals with family and friends.
As with any part of raising children, no one does a perfect job with nutrition. As a parent, grandparent or adult caregiver, you can help to raise healthy eaters during these critical years by doing your best to:
Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
Provide calm, pleasant meal times where adults and children can talk together.
Remove distractions such as television, phones and tablets so that your attention is on each other.
Allow children to use their internal signals to decide how much and what to eat from the foods you set out for each meal.
Explore a variety of flavors and foods from different cultures and cuisines.
Share an appreciation for healthful food, lovingly prepared and shared with others.
Make simple food safety, such as washing hands, part of every eating occasion.
Teach basic skills for making positive food choices away from home.
Find credible food and nutrition resources when you don't know the answer.
While this may seem like an intimidating to-do list, two family habits go a long way to making all this happen: regular family meals and involving kids in nutrition from the ground up.
Make Family Meal Times a Priority
Sometimes a very simple act can have important, long-lasting benefits. According to parenting and health experts, that is exactly the case with family meal times. Eating and talking together helps to:
Create family unity
Prevent behavior problems at home and school
Enhance academic success
Promote healthy weight for kids
With that impressive list of benefits, it's worth making the time and effort to enjoy more family meal times each week. Look for easy ways to add just one family meal to the schedule. If evenings seem too hectic for family dinners, set aside time for a weekend breakfast or lunch. After a month or two of this new pattern, you can add another family meal each week. Before you know it, you will be eating together on most days.
Get Kids Involved in Nutrition
This one is fun for everyone and it can happen anywhere - your kitchen, the grocery store or a community garden. Every trip through the supermarket can be a nutrition lesson. Kids can learn to categorize food into groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods. They can choose new foods they want to try, including picking out a new fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit each trip. As children get older, they can help plan the menu at home and then pick out the foods to match the menu items while shopping.
Nutrition is just one of many reasons to have a garden. The process of planting, watching over and harvesting a garden provides daily opportunities for children to learn valuable lessons and enjoy physical activity, while reaping the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
Celebrate being a dad (or uncle, or grandpa...) every month at our Dad and Me outings, held at fun venues around the county!
This month let's welcome spring! Join us at Ridge Road Garden Center!
Saturday, March 23, 10:00am - 12:00pm.
Call 257-1092 to save your spot!
Save the fourth Saturday of every month for more outings held at fun venues around the county. Story time, a snack and a free book are provided each month!
Be sure to check out the display at the Amador Public Library
in Jackson this month!
Calling all Child Care Providers
& Preschool Teachers!
How can you give kids the best start in life?
... by taking your children to well-child and dental check ups and also, by doing an "ASQ."
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) is a way to make sure your child is "on track." The screening tools are designed to be completed by parents or primary caregivers, that encourage parent-caregiver involvement.
Each questionnaire can be completed in 10-20 minutes, and is divided into five areas: Communication, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Problem Solving, and Personal-Social.
The benefit for all children and families is so that parents/caregivers know which areas they can focus on at home with their children.
For more information, please call First 5 Amador at 257-1092.
Would you like to improve the quality of care you offer to children in your family child care home, preschool setting, or other early learning environment?
Give us a call at First 5 and find out about the many resources (and incentives!) available to you, (209) 257-1092.
Healthy QUICK TIPS of the MONTH
A sneaky way to get those veggies in!
1 pound of carrots, washed with skins on
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut ends off of carrots and cut into thin strips.
Place carrots in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss until coated.
Place carrots in a single layer on baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn carrots over at about 10 minutes into baking.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle on mint, optional.
Self Care Tip of the Month for Busy Parents
Have you ever felt that taking care of yourself comes last? Many parents feel guilty when making time to take care of themselves because they think they should prioritize their family, job, and everything else before taking time for themselves. By the time everyone is fed, teeth are brushed, homework is done, bills are paid, and dishes are done, you may feel that you don't have much energy left for taking care of yourself. You are not alone in feeling this way.
But what if you have NO free time?
Sometimes we can't carve time out of our day to be alone. This doesn't mean that you can't do self care. You can do activities with your child that will help you both relax and have fun!
Here are some activities for self care that you can do with your child.
For Your Bodies:
Have a dance party!
Go for a walk together.
Go to the park. Have fun on the playground, play chase or tag, or shoot some hoops.
Visit GoNoOdle.com to find hundreds of videos that get your kids moving.
Take a nap. If your child still naps, take a nap at the same time (we know this is a hard one for parents, but it's great self care!)
Thank you to Yolo Kids for sharing these fabulous tips!
One day, California's success
will be measured by the
well-being of its youngest children.
Calling all children 0 to 5 years of age.
Join Amador's favorite reading club!
Get free books for your children!
Currently 825Amador kids are receiving books!
Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book every
month from the Imagination Library! This is a free program, paid for by First 5 Amador and donations from local individuals and service organizations locally. Books are available to all Amador County children aged 0-4 (from birth until their 5th birthday).