Military Spouse Magazine

SEP 2018

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DANI'S QUICK TAKE: HEALTHY EATING DURING DEPLOYMENTS "Meal preparation can still be healthy even when you don't have a second set of hands. I like simple meals such as having breakfast foods for dinner, tuna melts or bean and cheese burritos with cher- ry tomatoes, baby carrots and sliced oranges. My mealtime goal is to always serve a fruit and a veg- etable. Aim for foods with the least amount of pro- cessing or pre-packing." SAVOR A "L AST" AND BUZZ ABOUT A "FIRST" Before a PCS, have each family member pick a favorite place they want to eat at one last time. Use this final meal to foster a conver- sation with your children about what they love about the food using descriptive words that engages their five senses. Then take the time to generate buzz and excitement about "first" foods that will be discovered in the new neighborhood. Ask kids what kind of foods they would like to try in the next city. INVESTIGATE FOOD AND CULTURE Get everyone excited to try new foods from exotic flavors and unusual textures to aromatic herbs and spices. Learn about special mealtime customs, utensils, and food preparation methods. It may be as simple as taking the family to a local pick-your-own farm for fresh strawberries, attending a peach canning class in the southern states, or sampling bibimbap rice bowls in Korea. MAKE DISCOVERY FUN Kids are eager to learn. Make food discovery something your kids will look forward to such as visiting local markets. Capture their attention with fun experiences that support their devel- opmental stage. Younger children love to play "I spy" while school-aged children may enjoy scavenger hunts and how-to demonstrations. "Moving to a new part of the country or living abroad means some big changes for military kids," says Dani. "The key to expand- ing young palates and growing adventurous eaters is empowering children by including them in the meal-time process from food selection to preparation, and sharing positive food experiences with family and friends." "Children are willing to try new foods when they are encouraged to observe, participate and explore," explains Dani. "Empowering children with tools to engage and communicate about food in a low-stress environment inspires an interest even if that means the child is not actively tasting a new food. This approach can help establish positive relationships with food which not only promotes healthy eating, but also minimizes picky eaters." EMPOWER AND ENCOUR AGE THROUGH FOOD EXPLOR ATION Allow taste buds to experiment in a pressure-free zone. Give your child the autonomy to choose what and how much they want to eat from what you have provided. Consider take-out served family style when introducing kids to new foods so they can pick what they want to taste. CREATE MEALTIME TR ADITIONS Kids thrive on routine and attention. While it may not be possible to have a family dinner every single night, particularly when going through deployments, prioritizing time to eat together as a family whenever possible fosters a positive food environment for children. Research shows that family meals help shape healthy attitudes and behaviors about foods, encourages con- sumption of more fruits and vegetables, and can help children perform better in school. 1 2 3 4 5 Photos provided by April Deocariza SEPTEMBER 2018 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 13

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