Eating right and keeping up with the nutrition facts for yourself and your family is important all year long. However, with March being National Nutrition Month, now is especially the time to listen to the American Dietetic Association and focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
This year, the National Nutrition Month has a theme: Eat right with Color. The idea is to encourage everyone to remember to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy on their plates every day. And who couldn't use a helpful little reminder like that, right?
But, let's face facts. Kids aren't all that interested in nutrition, so explaining to them them why we all need to eat our colorful foods might be met with a blank stare. Instead, make a healthy diet fun for children by incorporating some fun and uniqueness from the much-loved Dinosaur Train on PBS KIDS.
Nutrition was important to dinosaurs many years ago and the American Dietetic Association and PBS have found plenty of ways for parents to incorporate that into entertaining and educational moments with their kids.
In fact, right on the American Dietetic Association website, there are many resources for parents to turn to for ideas and activities. Or, for 25 healthy snacks, there is a PDF available for download filled with great ideas such as:
- Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.
- Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins. Enjoy your “ants on a log.”
- Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.
- Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
- Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana to make a yummy sandwich.
This activity helps young children learn what foods fit into an herbivore's diet (fruits and vegetables); reminds children about the importance of hand washing before eating; and also creates an opportunity to discuss why all animals need to eliminate waste from their bodies (a.k.a. “poop”). The menu includes items such as:
- Brachiosaurus Super Salad: The kids will have fun tearing up green leafy veggies into bite-size pieces and mixing ranch dressing with green coloring to make a tasty topping.
- Sauropod Sandwich: With a plastic knife, cut pieces of whole wheat bread in the shape of a favorite dinosaur and spread with cheese spread or peanut butter.
- Herbivore Herb and Spinach Spread: Mix frozen spinach, dried onion soup mix, sour cream, celery sticks and crackers
- Green Juice: Fill a child’s plastic cup with apple juice and add green food color to make a green beverage fit for an herbivore.
One of Big Sister E's all-time favorite episodes of Dinosaur Train is the one featuring the song Every Dinosaur Poops, so although the song is a little silly, it's a great way to talk about why every animal needs to go, and what would happen if the animal didn’t poop out the parts of the food its body didn’t need.
Another fun way to explore the concept of poop (in case you need more poop) is with Uncle Milton’s new Dinosaur Train Dino Poop Kit, just one of a range of new science-themed toys geared to make science more interesting, engaging, and accessible for children.
With the Dino Poop kit (available at Toys 'R Us for $7.99 for ages 4+), kids can discover what the dinosaur had for lunch! Did he have fish or did he eat a plant? Once kids find pieces of what he ate, they can put them together to create their own fossil imprint to figure it out. Of course it's just soft, pliable dino dough, but that won't stop kids from having a great time with their "poop!"
This month, PBS and the American Dietetic Association have made it fun and easy to incorporate all sorts of educational and interesting facts and foods in with your family's meals and activities. And, thanks to the generosity of PBS, one person will be able to have even a little more fun with Dinosaur Train around their house, because...
One lucky person will win the newly-released Dinosaur Train: Pteranodon Family World Tour Adventure DVD!
To enter to win: Visit The Jim Henson Company and tell me another of their many, many productions that you have enjoyed over the years. (Hint: click on Productions in the upper left and then any of the pop-up categories)
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Giveaway will end on April 8th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to PBS Kids for providing a copy of Dinosaur Train: Pteranodon Family World Tour Adventure for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.