Concord, NH – Summer in New Hampshire offers an abundance of healthy eating options with many fresh fruits and vegetables. The WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Nutrition Program, a public health nutrition program serving more than 10,000 families in New Hampshire and more than nine million families nationally, wants to encourage WIC families, and everyone, to eat healthy to help reduce overweight and obesity and many related health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
“In New Hampshire, we are seeing rates of 33% of low-income children being either overweight or obese,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services at DHHS. “These rates point to the need for parents to become healthy themselves and to be a good role model for their children through healthy eating and regular physical activity.”
The New Hampshire WIC Program offers the following tips to parents for healthy summer meals and snacks: · Take young children to a farmers' market and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. Pick fruits and vegetables that are in season at farmers' market to get the best price for your dollar. · At home, have your child help with the simple washing and cutting up of the fruits and vegetables selected at the farmers' market. They can easily help to wash fruits and vegetables, and arrange them on a plate or bowl.
- Try a child-friendly recipe with fresh broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes, such as “Trees in a Forest.” Serve it with low-fat yogurt mixed with fresh herbs and honey.
- Start planning to grow your own vegetables for next year. A large garden area is not necessary and vegetable seeds for simple plants such as carrots and lettuce can be started in the house and then moved to outside areas.
- Make mealtime a family time. Try to have at least one meal a day together. Eating meals as a family can improve your child’s food habits as children tend to eat more fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods at meals shared with their parents.
- Get the family involved in meal planning and preparation. Your kitchen can be a place for children to learn. Give children simple tasks to help with family shopping, preparation, and cleanup. They are more likely to eat foods that they have helped prepare.
- Call WIC and ask about the new food packages coming in October. Starting in October, WIC families will receive new and nutritious foods, like fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods like bread, tortillas, oatmeal, and brown rice, low fat and skim milk, and canned beans. Fully breast-feeding mothers will receive canned tunafish and salmon, and infants 6 months and older will receive baby food fruits, vegetables, and meats. Ask the WIC nutritionist for recipes and snack ideas for young children.
· Check out www.mypyramid.gov/preschoolers/index.html for information on my pyramid for preschoolers and learn how to help your preschooler eat well, be active, and be healthy.
For more information about the WIC Nutrition Program, contact the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-942-4321 or visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/DHHS/WIC/default.htm. WIC is an equal opportunity program.