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Cooking... A Fun Way to Keep Children Reading this Summer!

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MP900448564[1].jpgHard to believe, but summer vacation from school is almost half over. It's important that children keep reading and doing math during the summer so they do not forget what they learned in school. Cooking with children is a fun way for children to practice reading and math. Give these a try.

Preschool

  • Letter recognition: Have children look at the foods in the cupboard and find a food that starts with a certain letter. For example, show children three varieties of soup. Have them find tomato soup.  It starts with a "t".
  • Counting: Children can count the number of cups of flour that go into a pancake batter or count the number of times they stir a pancake batter.


Shopping on a Budget at Farmers Markets

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Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, and for good reason! It's fun to buy local produce in a festive market on a bright sunny day.

2 adults looking at produce

Talk with farmers and fellow shoppers for more tips.

But what if you're on a budget? Here are some money saving tips to take along with you to the market.

  • Avoid going to the market on an empty stomach. You're less likely to buy more than you bargained for!
  • Bring along a 'flexible' shopping list that gives you an idea of what you need and leaves room for what's available. "Fruit for five meals" leaves it open to whatever fruit is a bargain this week.

Gardening: Get Your Kids Involved!

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It's time to think about gardening!

Girls veggie basket 7

The kids that grow veggies, eat veggies.

Did you know? One of the best ways to get your children interested in eating veggies is to include them in growing veggies. Here are six ideas to help you get your children interested in gardening this year.

1. Read Up on Gardening
Find books at the library that talk about the different veggies you might want to plant. Have your kids read them and help decide what to plant.

Adventures in Eating

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Girl pinching her nose

Do you want to add variety to your child's diet?

Feeding young children is an adventure. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's... more challenging. Between the ages of 2 and 6, many children do not like to try new foods. This is normal and children become more willing to try foods as they get older. Keep these short messages in mind:

Let go a little to gain a lot.
It's natural to worry about a preschooler's eating habits. Offer healthy foods and allow kids to choose from them. They'll be more likely to enjoy meal time and eat enough, so everyone's happier.

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

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Here's a fun piece of trivia for your family. Did you know that you have about 10,000 taste buds in your mouth? Give them a treat by mixing things up and trying some new foods. March is National Nutrition Month® and a great time to "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!"

girl sticking out tongue

Kids have more taste buds than adults, so food may taste stronger to them.

Here are some ideas and recipes to try:
At the grocery store
  • Try a New Color. Have your children pick out an orange fruit or vegetable to put in the cart. Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin and carrots are taste superstars. Eating yellow/orange fruits and vegetables may help prevent cancer, keeps your heart healthy, helps maintain vision and may even slow down aging! How about mixing Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash? Your kids will love this.
  • Try a New Food from a Food Group. Maybe you feel you've tried all the 'green' veggies out there, but how about kale? Kale is considered a super food because it packs a nutrient punch! This White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup is sure to be a family hit. Kids can remove kale from the stems by running the kale through their fingers. Very fun!

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