Since March is National Nutrition Month, the focus of our Read and Rise stories this month will be nutrition and healthy bodies. My friend...

'Good Enough to Eat' - Read and Rise March 2021


Since March is National Nutrition Month, the focus of our Read and Rise stories this month will be nutrition and healthy bodies. My friend, Ri James, has a B.S. in Nutritional Studies from Rutgers University and so I asked if she could help clarify a bit what it means to eat healthy amidst the confusion of so many "healthy diets." 

Parents talk a lot about "being healthy." We tell our kids to get enough sleep, drink water, go outside and exercise, and most of all, to "eat your vegetables." Or, "don't eat so much junk." But is that all there is to eating healthy? The word "healthy" is so tricky when it comes to food. We can tell our kids they need 12 hours of sleep daily, or 8 cups of water daily, or an hour of exercise daily. With food it's harder because there are so many foods out there, and there are also so many gimmicky diet plans. Our kids need to learn how to navigate this confusion. So what do we parents do? Get them involved. The trick is to have them help you create a healthy plate that's also delicious. A plate that follows no diet plans but instead follows the body's nutritional needs. A plate that has foods that do the following:

1. Protect and repair the body (about half your plate is vitamin and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, in a wide range of colors throughout the day. "Eat a rainbow" is helpful with younger kids).

2. Provide sustained energy (a quarter of your plate is whole grains)

3. Build bones and muscles (a quarter of your plate is proteins and calcium rich foods like dairy, legumes, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat).

4. Store energy and vitamins (cook with these or serve as condiments/dressings/toppings: oily/high fat foods like olive oil, avocados, and nut butters. No matter what your weight is, these foods are crucial for vitamin absorption and storage). 

5. Provide a palatable experience (yum factor! sprinklings of Parmesan, a dash of cinnamon sugar, a pinch of this spice of that, etc).

When your child is involved in the meal prep process they have a sense of control. It's also a perfect opportunity to tell them what those foods do for us, and how we can make those foods taste delicious. We might not have time to make meals with our children daily, but meal planning together once in a while is also helpful. As they practice creating these healthy and yummy plates, it will become automatic. Let's ban the diets and start enjoying good food with our families.


Our story today helps further explain the various nutrients your body needs and in what foods they are found.

Featured story: "Good Enough to Eat" by Lizzy Rockwell

Activity: After reading the story, create a meal plan with your children for the rest of the week. I would start with planning just one meal a day (i.e. plan all your breakfasts, plan all your dinners) but try to include a variety of foods that meet all your body's needs! 

Throughout the month, I will be sharing family friendly dishes that will hopefully help on your quest to provide healthy balanced meals that everyone enjoys!

For more information about National Nutrition Month 2021 and LOTS of resources, please check out Eat Right