March is National Nutrition Month, and the USDA is starting it off by making some new nutrition grants available to states. The Team Nutrition Training Grants for Healthy Meals have helped the USDA reach nearly 32 million children through the state-run school meal programs that benefitted last year, according to their press release.
Although you might not be a direct participant in the programs, you can also support children’s nutrition education by providing healthy food options to the young ones around you. When you invite a family for dinner, prepare some lighter items, avoiding the typical fast-food inspired fare of chicken nuggets or dinosaur-shaped potatoes.
If you make pizza, make it from scratch, or pick up a home-bake cheese pizza and add six or seven vegetables, chopped finely. Olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, chicken breast, and cut spinach leaves are all great toppings.
If you bring snacks to a game or social gathering, look at fruit dippers with yoghurt, air popped popcorn spritzed lightly with olive oil (but easily omitted), or even a warm 7-layer dip sans the gooey yellow cheese and maximizing on freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese – low-fat vegetarian refried beans, an assortment of finely chopped vegetables, and one mashed avocado provide all the richness the kids would want. Pair that dip with a low-salt, baked tortilla chip, and you’ll be the only one who knows that it’s a healthy food.
Enjoy National Nutrition Month!