FGH, Extra Table promote nutrition for child’s growth

By STAFF REPORTS,

Nutrition for optimal childhood development is this month’s topic for the Forrest General and Extra Table health and wellness partnership. The partnership was formed in early 2019 as a way to celebrate Extra Table’s 10 years of providing healthy food to Mississippi’s most food-insecure residents.

“Hunger and food insecurity can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance,” said Anita Henderson, MD, pediatrician, The Pediatric Clinic/Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital.

Here are a few tips for developmental health:

“I Make MIlk. What’s Your

Superpower?”

Women who chose to breastfeed naturally provide nearly the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat - everything a baby needs to grow. It has also been linked to higher IQ scores and develops a strong immune system.

Daily BREAD

Fiber is essential during the toddler stage. This is the time when kids become picky eaters, but it’s important to encourage whole grains, beans, and fruits to help aid digestion and prevent heart disease.

GRAB A LUNCH BOX

Allowing kids to pack their own lunch boxes is empowering and keeps them away from consuming cafeteria pizza. They might not love doing it every single day, but this teaches them to choose healthy foods on their own. Stock your pantry with staple lunch options such as grapes, carrot sticks, and peanut butter crackers.

HEALTHY EATING FUN

The more creative the meal is, the greater variety kids will learn to eat. You can trick kids into eating celery with a little slab of peanut butter and top it with raisins and call it Ants on a Log! This household favorite is also nutritious and super fun.

DIP IT

If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with condiments and dips. Ranch, ketchup, hummus and salsa are some fan favorites amongst the adolescent crowd.

“IS THE JUICE WORTH THE SQUEEZE?

Children love juice because it tastes good. Many juices are loaded with sugar and lead to obesity and rotten teeth. It is important to read the label of packaged juice and discover how much real juice it contains. To cut down sugar but not cut out juice from your child’s diet, fill their cup with half juice and half water. They’ll never be able to tell a difference!

RISE AND DINE

Breakfast is one of the nutritional challenges of parenthood. Getting out the door in the morning can be a challenge itself. Breakfast is essential to improving memory and increasing attention span. Try fixing breakfast before bedtime with homemade bran muffins and hard-boiled eggs so you and the kids are ready to take on the day, full and energized.

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