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Easy Steps to Your Child's Nutrition

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Top 10 Healthy Summer Foods for Children

Can kids eat healthfully, yet still enjoy their favorite summer foods?
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2. Top Summer Food: Hamburgers & Hot Dogs

This all-American duo has always been trouble -- full of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. The good news is, you can improve nutrition by making a few wise choices.

  • If you grill burgers at home, mix it up. Use one-half lean beef and one-half ground turkey. Add a little applesauce or egg white for extra juiciness, Krieger suggests. Fun toppings -- lemon or orange zest, black pepper, salsa, BBQ sauce, pineapple. A slice of a summer tomato and some fresh-from-the-garden lettuce tops off the taste.
  • Frozen veggie burgers on whole-wheat buns are another good option. Try grilling them, and toast the bun, too. Lots of fixings boost the enjoyment factor.
  • Try light and reduced-fat hot dogs, including chicken and turkey dogs. They taste best hot off the grill, Krieger says.
  • Switch gears: Grill skinless chicken breasts and lots of veggies -- onions, bell peppers, carrots, squash, eggplant. "These taste great with a little olive oil brushed on," says Zied. "Serve them cut up into small pieces -- or with some melted cheese on toasted French bread."

3. Top Summer Food: Ice Cream 

It's hard to resist ice cream. But premium ice creams have about 15 grams or more fat per 1/2 cup serving.

  • Sweet news here: Many well-known brands -- Dreyers/Edy's, Breyers, and Haagen-Dazs -- are making super-creamy "light" and "slow-churned" ice creams that cut lots of fat and calories. Read labels carefully. Plain flavors like chocolate and vanilla have about 100 calories per half-cup, while other flavors are 120 to 130 calories -- even 250 calories per serving.
  • Another option: "If kids get a Fudgsicle or Popsicle, they'll be dodging lots of fat and sugar," Krieger says. In fact, Fudgsicles now come in fat-free or low-fat, no sugar added versions. Popsicles are fat-free, even sugar-free if you want. And both have built-in portion control, she adds.
  • Make your own frozen fruit pops. Buy molds and sticks at a crafts store. Pour in your favorite fruit juice (with fruit chunks, if you want), and freeze. It's an easy yummy treat for a hot summer day.
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