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    Easy Steps to Your Child's Nutrition

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    Jeanie Lerche Davis

    Jeanie Lerche Davis, formerly with WebMD, wrote daily news stories and health features.

    Ms. Davis handled media relations for several museums in Illinois and Virginia before focusing her writing career on health and medicine in 1990. In Houston, she wrote for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital/Texas Heart Institute. She moved to Atlanta in early 1996 and wrote for the American Cancer Society, Emory University Health Sciences Center, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and others.

    She has received numerous awards, including a World Wide Web Health Award for the special report "How to Talk to Your Teen" and a Circle of Excellence Media Award from the American Society for Plastic Surgeons. 

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    Top 10 Healthy Summer Foods for Children

    Can kids eat healthfully, yet still enjoy their favorite summer foods?
    WebMD Feature

    Ball games, cookouts, festivals. Summer is ripe with our children’s favorite foods. Yet so many summer foods -- from BBQ turkey legs to ice cream and hot dogs -- are dietary disasters.

    Can children eat healthy, yet still enjoy their favorite summer foods? Yes, they can have hamburgers, hot dogs, ice creamy treats, and desserts -- if you handle it right.

    Healthy Food Rule #1: Let them eat sweets, says Sarah Krieger, MPH, RD, LD, a dietitian in St. Petersburg, FL, and an American Dietetic Association (ADA) spokeswoman. "It's really important to treat sweets like any other food, to have a little bit every day. That's how kids develop a healthy relationship with sweet foods."

    Healthy Food Rule #2: Make sure they burn off the calories, says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, a nutrition consultant in New York City, author of the book Feed Your Family Right!, and an ADA spokeswoman.

    At a carnival, "if your kids want a funnel cake or corn dog, go for it," Zied tells WebMD. "You don't want them to feel deprived. Pump up their activity that week or that day so they can burn it off." She also teaches kids to share sweet and fatty foods -- so everyone gets a taste, but no one overeats.

    Healthy Food Rule #3: "Be a good role model," says Sheah Rarback, MS, RD, director of nutrition for the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "Expose kids to healthy foods -- or at least healthier versions of their favorites. If you eat them, your kids will eat them."

    Here are healthy tips for children’s favorite summer foods:

    1. Top Summer Food: Nachos & Quesadillas

    Mexican food is always a treat -- and has lots of healthy elements. Start with whole-wheat chips and tortillas for extra fiber, then add your favorite toppings. Done right, you can sneak lots of veggies, protein, calcium, and fiber into these snacks.

    • Create your own nacho platter, Rarback suggests. "Top tortillas with beans, salsa, guacamole, and melt low-fat cheese over it all. Kids love those kinds of healthy carbs." Toss a bit of fat-free sour cream on top if you want.
    • Puree different veggies -- then slip them into a chip dip, or use it as a nacho topping. Your kids won't know the difference!
    • Quesadillas are another kid favorite. Top whole-wheat tortillas with beans, low-fat cheese, veggies (like red bell and green peppers, corn, green onions, spinach, mushrooms), and chicken. On the side, you've got the classic quartet -- low-fat sour cream, lettuce, salsa, guacamole -- also healthy.
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