Monday Message: Kids Eat Right

Campaign members are the driving force behind Kids Eat Right (KER) and the quality nutrition approach to childhood obesity prevention. As members, our goal is to promote healthy eating and prevent childhood obesity in public education projects and programs. The KER objectives include:

  • Participate in community and school efforts to prevent and eliminate childhood obesity
  • Educate children, families, communities and policy makers on the importance of high-quality, nutritional foods in childhood obesity prevention efforts
  • Support the recommendations of the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force, with a special focus on parents and schools

In order to spread a “nutrition” message on childhood obesity prevention efforts in schools and communities, I will be blogging “Monday Messages.” The messages will include weekly advice for parents and caretakers on how to shop for healthy foods, cook nutrient-rich foods, and eat together as a family. Happy Monday!

Article of the Week:

Go ahead and talk with your child about weight, and encourage her to share her thoughts and feelings about her body image. She may be teased at school, maybe some sports are difficult for her, or perhaps she is chosen last for teams. Maybe she is embarrassed because she has trouble fitting into her clothes, and these frustrating and painful issues are common among overweight children.

If your child shares his feelings with you, listen to him, and let him know that his feelings are real, frustrating and painful. If you have had similar experiences, it may help to share them, and encourage your child to share his feelings whenever they arise. Let him know that you will listen when he needs to talk. Explain that people come in all different sizes and shapes and let him know that you will accept him and love him no matter what his size.

Your child probably knows better than anyone else that she is overweight, and overweight children need support, acceptance, reassurance and encouragement from their parents. Let your child know that you will not be putting him on a strict diet; that kind of diet can send the message to your child that you’re not happy with his size. It may make him think that he will be more acceptable to you when he is thinner, and your child may see this as rejection. Children learn fast, and they learn best by example. Teach your child habits that will help keep her healthy for the rest of her life.

Set Realistic Goals:

Remember that the main goal for your overweight child may be to slow the rate of her weight gain or the goal may be for your child to stay at her current weight while she grows taller. Such goals help your child to grow into her weight, and it may take six months to reach a goal. However, it may take longer. The amount of time will depend on your child’s weight and when her growth spurts take place.

Realize that change occurs slowly, and be patient. It can be hard to change eating habits, and aim for what is possible, not what you think is perfect. Change menus slowly, and try one new dish or type of food at a time. If your family is used to fast food, they may not be ready for a menu of chicken breast and baked potatoes or broiled fish and carrots. Set yourself up for success. Choose a few specific changes that you can make in your family’s eating habits. Then set realistic goals.

Hot Tip of the Week:

Summer cookouts provide a great opportunity to visit and impress friends and family with your skills at the grill. This summer, add variety and healthy options to any cookout by grilling fruits and vegetables. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Cooking vegetables right on the grill adds flavor to any meal. Baste firm vegetables like peppers, corn, eggplant or onions. Season them with herbs and place on a hot grill until they are tender and brown—usually about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Place sliced zucchini, tomatoes and carrots on heavy-duty foil and sprinkle with a little water and seasoning. Wrap the foil and grill 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Make kabobs out of pineapples, peaches and bananas and grill on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden.

Another great reason to add fruits and vegetables to your outdoor cooking repertoire: With the abundance of produce available this time of year, it’s easy to eat your recommended 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables a day for optimal health.

Recipe of the Week:

Roasted Carrot and Farro Salad with Yogurt Dressing 

Farro is an ancient whole grain, popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, with a nutty flavor and satisfying chewy texture. Combined with roasted carrots and a lemony yogurt dressing, Farro is an ideal base for this hearty vegetarian salad.



  • 2 pounds of carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked Farro
  • ½ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh baby arugula
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine carrots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet; toss to coat. Spread carrots in a single layer.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tender, stirring after 10 minutes.
  4. Cook Farro according to package directions.
  5. Whisk together yogurt, remaining ¼ cup olive oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, garlic and remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. Combine Farro, carrots and baby arugula in a large bowl; drizzle with yogurt mixture, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Amount per serving:

Servings: 7 (1 cup Per Serving)

Calories 291, Total Fat 16g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 420mg, Total Carbohydrate 33g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Protein 7g

Featured Video:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Quinoa Cookies:

Important Kids Eat Right links: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and KER website.

Tip of the Day

Keep it lean! Meat contains protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins E and B. For less fat, go with lean cuts.

Choose My Plate


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