A LOCAL woman, who declined to be identified, said she encourages her six children to eat healthy. “I think feeding your children with a variety of healthy food is better than serving them meat and rice,” she said.

healthy meal

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, a contributing editor for Parents magazine and a registered dietitian, has noted that the American Cancer Society “recommends limiting red and processed meats…’in order to save lives from cancer.’ ”

But she said that “instead of stressing out over servings of meat, a smarter approach for your family is simply eating a wide variety of foods. That ensures that one food or group of foods doesn't dominate your family’s diet.”

She quotes Parents  magazine advisor Jill Castle, RD, who said: “Rather than getting caught up on one food group like meat or a new study, I advise parents to aim for an overall healthy food balance.”

Kuzemchak said this means “serving a lot of different lean protein foods like meat, poultry, fish, and beans as well as lots of plant foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, plus dairy (or dairy substitutes if needed) — and not demonizing any food.”

“Children need a well-rounded diet for good physical growth,” Castle told  Kuzemchak, “but they are developing their relationship with food also. They learn about foods from their day-to-day interactions. Instilling fear or practicing food restriction may encourage an unhealthy relationship with food.”

As for Kuzemchak: “I'll be sticking with our usual approach: We eat beef once a week, enjoy things like bacon and sausage a few times a month, and have deli meat for sandwiches about once a month. I also make at least one meatless dinner every week, serve lots of fruits and vegetables — and try not to let conflicting nutrition headlines stress me out!”

As usual, for more information, consult your doctor.

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