Food Services and Nutrition
Fruit is healthy and fruit juice might seem as a fast and convenient way to drink your nutrients. However, fruit juice is not nutritionally equivalent to whole fruit.
These are three reason why you should try to cut down fruit juice intake and start chewing whole fruit:
- Most juicing processes destroy a number of fruits’ beneficial compounds and antioxidants, it removes nearly all of the natural fiber.
- Juice is not a low-calorie beverage. High intake of fruit juice has been linked to childhood obesity.
- Fruit is a great source of fiber. Fiber will fill you up and slow down the sugar release into your bloodstream.
Eat foods that contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Select oils such as canola, flaxseed or soybean
- Add walnuts to granola, salads, muffins or try walnut oil as salad dressing
- Eat fatty fish once a week (salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines)
Reduce Sodium Intake
- Prepare home made foods in order to control added salt
- Use as little amount of salt in cooking as possible
- Avoid adding salt to food at the table
- Check the nutritional facts on products and choose reduced sodium
- Season foods with herbs, garlic, onion, peppers and lime juice to add flavor
Tips for cutting back on saturated and trans fats:
- Remove all visible fat from meats and chicken before cooking, as well as the skin before eating it.
- Reduce eating processed meats like salami, bacon and sausage.
- Bake, broil, roast, stir-fry or stew meats, avoid frying and breading.
- Eat fish 2-3 times a week and vary the cooking method.
- Include plant sources of protein like beans, lentils and nuts.
- Choose reduced fat cheese options like feta, fresh, cottage and mozzarella.
- Use fat-free, 2% or 1% milk for cooking.
- Choose lower-fat milk and yogurt.
- Use vegetable oils instead of stick margarine for cooking.
- Make homemade salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar instead of store bought.
Feed your brain for memory boosting and better function. Add these foods to your daily diet:
- Veggies: Especially cruciferous including broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale to help improve memory.
- Berries: Especially dark ones like blackberries, blueberries and cherries, which are a rich source of flavonoids that boost memory function.
- Get enough omega-3 fatty acids: Especially omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps improve memory in young adults, as it is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. It is found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.
- Go NUTS: Eating walnuts has a positive impact on heart health, working memory and satisfying midday hunger.
(Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2015)
Start your day with protein. Helps us stay strong and focused until lunchtime
- Choose lean protein options such as: an egg, low-fat yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, turkey ham.
Combine with whole grains. It will provide the energy our body and brain needs.
- Whole grains contain fiber that helps food digest slower, this provides longer lasting energy
- These include: oatmeal, whole wheat toast, whole grain waffles and pancakes.
Mix it up with fresh fruits and vegetables. They provide essential vitamins and minerals they need for energy, growth and development.
- These include: apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, kiwis, carrots, tomatoes, pineapples and many more.
Learn how to have better choices for health!
- Eat breakfast every day
- Eat a midmorning and/or midafternoon snack, it will avoid overeating at meals and alleviate energy lows throughout the day
- Eat at least 2-3 fruits and 3-4 vegetables a day
- Choose low-fat protein sources; eat less red meat and more chicken, turkey and fish
- Eat fish at least 2-3 times a week
- Include vegetable sources of protein like beans, lentils and nuts
- Choose whole-grains and cereals
- Add heart-healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, almonds and avocado in your meals
- Avoid adding excessive salt to your foods, and watch the sodium content in products.
- Get Moving and start being active! For healthy bones, weight management, muscle strength and overall good health.
- Stay hydrated! Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
It’s common to find kids or even adults avoiding the vegetables on their plate but it’s important that we consume them frequently due to their benefits. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and help us maintain a healthy life.
So...how can we incorporate them into meals without noticing they’re in there?:
- Mash up cauliflower or zucchini and add them to dishes that have sauces like pasta or soups. They go great in pastries, muffins and homemade bread.
- Add vegetables to smoothies and mix them with fruit so they still taste sweet.
- Experiment with vegetables, chop them into your dishes, mix them into soups and meat dishes.
- Add vegetables to popsicles using kale, carrots, beets or any vegetable of your choice. Mix them in with other ingredients and kids will never know they’re there.
Eating a good quality breakfast can help kids feel alert and motivated to learn. Due to children’s rapid growth rates, they need optimal nutrition, especially in the early stages of childhood. There are higher demands of glycogen (also known as energy), this energy stores overnight and because children sleep longer than adults, there is a longer fasting period (long time without food). Therefore, eating a healthy breakfast is really important.
When blood sugar levels are low, hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released which can cause feelings of agitation and irritability and may affect a child’s concentration. Children who don’t eat breakfast struggle to have energy in the morning to cope with the demands of school.
Quick “on the go” Breakfast Ideas:
- Corn tortilla quesadillas with avocado slices
- Use leftover “Picadillo” or another meat dish for quick homemade tacos
- Whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter and banana slices
- Whole wheat bread with beans and slices of panela cheese
- A piece of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews)
- Strawberry smoothie: ½ cup of milk, 1 cup of strawberries, ¼ cup of cottage cheese 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract