The Road to Healthful Eating Begins with MyPyramid for Kids

PITTSBURGH, PA - September 28, 2005 - With today's release of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPyramid for Kids, the Canned Food Alliance (CFA) commends the USDA for recognizing the importance of childhood nutrition and for providing children, families and educators the tools they need so the entire family can eat healthfully. The CFA also reminds consumers that canned foods play a significant role in helping children and their families meet MyPyramid's recommendations, as acknowledged by the USDA.

With the release of MyPyramid and MyPyramid for Kids, the USDA notes that canned foods are one way for Americans to get the recommended variety and amount of fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that when prepared for the table, canned foods are as nutritious as their cooked fresh and frozen counterparts. Canned foods offer nutritious, convenient and flavorful choices to help children step up to healthful eating, whatever their nutrient or calorie needs.

“Busy families need all the help they can get in preparing nutritious, flavorful meals,” said Rich Tavoletti, director of the Canned Food Alliance.   “We applaud the USDA for recognizing that canned foods play an important role in helping children meet the government’s recommendations and in providing nutritious, convenient and quick solutions for meals and snacks.”

Getting Started on the Road to Good Health

Following MyPyramid for Kids can't get much easier. Visit www.mealtime.org for hundreds of ways kids and their families can take steps to helpful eating; easy-to-prepare, kid-friendly recipes, advice for stocking a healthful pantry that sets the foundation for mealtime success and the latest studies about canned food nutrition.

"The new MyPyramid for Kids is a great tool to educate children and their busy parents about healthful eating and give them practice in making sound food choices. Establishing healthy eating habits in children is critical for a lifetime of good health," said Roberta Larson Duyff, registered dietitian, author of the award-winning 365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association and of children's nutrition books and school-based nutrition curriculum. She also is a spokesperson for the Canned Food Alliance. "MyPyramid for Kids is filled with fun, interactive learning for school and at home. And it can involve the whole family in smart eating and increasing activity levels. I'm pleased that the USDA has provided this creative tool for helping children to learn how to make smart food choices at school, at home and wherever they go.

MyPyramid in Action

MyPyramid for Kids emphasizes messages such as "choose healthier foods from each food group" and "eat foods from every food group every day." How much they need to eat from each food group depends on their age and activity level. (For example, a 9-year-old moderately active boy would need 1,800 calories.)

Ready to put MyPyramid for Kids into action? Here are some ways to help kids take it one step at a time as they use canned foods to follow MyPyramid for Kids:

Grains - Kids "Can-Dos"
  • Top oatmeal with canned berries or peaches. Mix canned corn (it's a whole grain) into soups, salsas or chili for chilidogs

Vegetable - Kids "Can-Dos"
  • Let kids take part by mixing canned pumpkin or bean purée into their favorite soups. Blend canned carrots or tomatoes in smashed potatoes. Kids will love the color.

Fruit - Kids "Can-Dos"
  • Try canned pineapple, pears or peaches as a topper on ham pizza. Top French toast or pancakes with vitamin A-rich apricots. Make a smiley face with Mandarin oranges on a slice of bread and peanut butter. Purée canned fruit and freeze it to make fruit pops. Skewer canned pineapple chunks and Mandarin oranges for a fruity kabob snack.

Milk - Kids"Can-Dos"
  • Whirl a tasty smoothie with low-fat yogurt or fat-free evaporated milk and their favorite canned fruit or juice. Top frozen yogurt with their favorite canned fruit.

Meat and Beans - Kids "Can-Dos"
  • Add canned beans, turkey, chicken and meat to macaroni and cheese, chili, burritos, tacos, pizza or their favorite pasta dishes.

Oils - Kids "Can-Dos"
  • Stir in drained, canned sliced olives into your kids favorite spaghetti sauce or put it on top of pizza.

"With a nation of time-starved Americans, we want them to know and trust that canned foods are an easy and nutritious way to follow MyPyramid for Kids," said Tavoletti. "Canned food makes for incredibly versatile, healthy and easy-to-prepare meals that can take the last-minute 'what are we going to eat tonight?' burden off of millions of busy moms. Mealtime.org can provide personalized ideas for everyone in the family on how to eat smart."

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