Feeding kids has never been easy.
Time crunches, grab-'n'-go lifestyles, single-parent families, two-working-parent families and mounds of confusing nutrition information increase the pressure.
But help is at hand, and it's free!
The ABC's of Children's Nutrition is a 20-page, magazine-size pamphlet stuffed with sound nutrition information that's geared to make meal times easier, while improving kids' performance at school and at play.
Written by Mindy Hermann, a registered dietitian and mother of twin boys, the pamphlet covers special nutritional needs from pregnancy through the teen years.
Articles include tips for getting kids to try new foods, hints for a heart-healthy diet, and help for overweight kids.
For a free copy of The ABC's of Children's Nutrition, write to: Children's Nutrition, the American Dietetic Association, c/o Lee Enterprises, P. O. Box 1068, South Holland, Ill. 60473.
While you're waiting for your copy to arrive, try these 10 Suggestions for Smart Snacks and Fun Food:
*Stock up on carbohydrates -- bagels, pretzels, whole-grain breads and rolls, low-fat crackers, English muffins.
*Keep plenty of washed and cut raw vegetables in the refrigerator. Team with a yogurt or bean dip.
*Have an assortment of bread spreads handy such as peanut butter, smooth cottage cheese, reduced-fat cream cheese, jams, jellies and preserves.
*Top frozen waffles and pancakes with fresh fruit for a tasty and refreshing snack.
*Serve canned soups -- they are easy for a child to make for an after-school winter warmer.
*Make your own frozen juice pops in an ice cube tray, or freeze grapes, strawberries or chunks of banana, pineapple or melon.
*Bake your own oatmeal cookies. You can cut the shortening (margarine, butter, oil) and sugar in many recipes by at least one third without affecting quality.
*Put together a large batch of cereal, pretzel and nut mix. Divide into individual plastic bags.
*Serve healthy party foods -- try carrot cake cupcakes, bob for apples, make fresh fruit kebabs.
*Prepare air-popped popcorn and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and director of Eating Together in Baltimore.