Healthy Beginnings

Southeast Dairy Association - Mac and Cheese Casserole Cups

Children of all ages are known for having great aspirations for their future careers, whether it is to be successful doctors, professional athletes, or life-changing educators. Their enthusiasm is inspiring! It is important to teach our youth that a nutritious diet and active lifestyle will help build the framework for a lifetime of healthy habits.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program supports this goal by working with schools across the country and teaching students how to fuel their bodies with healthy foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. Recently, I had the privilege to team up with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and speak with some young children enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60 before a recent New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks game. The children were excited to see and meet some of their favorite professional football players that day. I was able to share with them how these athletes take care of their bodies through a proper diet and adequate rest and recovery. They learned that players eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, heart-healthy fish, whole grains, and reduced-fat dairy products every day as they prepare their minds and bodies for each game. Whether you have a future football player, firefighter, or family physician in the making, try some of my favorite recipes to keep them fueled up and ready to tackle their dreams.

Healthy Kid Friendly Recipes:

  •  Apple Pie Oatmeal: Cook 1/2 cup dry oats with skim milk. Add 1/4 cup no-sugar-added applesauce. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Top with 1/8 cup walnuts or almond slivers.
  • Fruity Nut Butter Wedges: On a whole-wheat tortilla, spread with 2 tablespoons peanut butter, top with sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, and almond slivers. Fold in half, press firmly, and cut into wedges.
  • Pita Pizza: Whole-wheat pita, tomato sauce, low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, and grilled chicken strips. Cook in toaster oven until cheese is melted.
  • Mac and Cheese Casserole Cups

Jamie MeeksJamie Meeks, registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, is the director of sports nutrition for the New Orleans Saints (NFL) and Pelicans (NBA). She works to integrate healthy choices and optimal fueling into the daily training routines of all Saints and Pelicans athletes. She works closely with the teams’ athletic trainers, strength coaches, and team physicians and provides individual counseling and medical nutrition therapy focusing on individual performance fueling strategies, hydration, and proper supplementation.

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