GOOD STUFF: Molly Ferguson has a healthy drink with her lunch at the Verner Center for Early Learning. Photo courtesy of Verner Center for Early Learning

Rainbow Table: Healthy, hydrated holidays

Sugary beverages are everywhere and are connected to every season. Why is that such a big deal? According to The Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health’s resource for evidence-based diet and nutrition information, soft drink makers produce 10.4 billion gallons of sugary drinks each year. That is essentially one 12-ounce can for every American, every day of the year.

SHARING A MEAL: Teachers eat with children at the Verner Montmorenci Center in Candler. Pictured clockwise from left: Jenny Jarvis, teacher; David Ferguson; Isabella Ramirez; Cynthia Reavis, teacher; Elifelet Argueta; Alissa McCloud. speech therapist; Emilyan Kennedy; Yarianna Ambrocio

Rainbow Table: Dining together

Research indicates a range of benefits from dining together as a family, including increased consumption of healthy foods, lower rates of obesity and a decreased likelihood of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression and eating disorders. In addition, family dining has been shown to increase vocabulary, raise self-esteem, increase grade-point averages and foster family relationships. All this in one hour a day!

GREEN THUMBS: A student at Cullowhee Valley School gets her hands in the dirt in her school garden. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Rainbow table: Growing a love for healthy foods

The more our children know about the food they eat, the more likely they are to make healthy food choices. Research strongly supports that children who grow their own food (yes, even preschoolers) are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, show higher levels of knowledge about nutrition and continue healthy eating habits throughout their lives. Through gardening, children also learn responsibility (you have to water the plants), cause and effect (if you don’t water them they will wither), lessons about weather, science, an appreciation for nature and a sense of community.

Rainbow table

Strategies for dealing with picky eaters Most parents face the challenge of dealing with a picky eater at some point in their child’s life. As the mother of a 5-year-old who has gone through her own phases of selective eating, I understand the struggle. We know that children develop many of their food preferences before […]