Trying to help your kids make healthy choices may be challenging, but it can be done. Here are some tips from my ebook “Teaching Kids How To Eat Well: A Series of Healthful Eating Tip Sheets for Kids and Teens” of how you can make healthy eating fun for kids at any age.
Toddlers and Young Children
- Entice picky eaters with whimsical food shapes. Make sandwiches, fruit and veggies interesting by using cookie cutters to transform them in to fun and inviting shapes.
- Encourage your child to invent new snacks.
- When shopping with your preschooler, make picking out vegetables and fruits fun by playing the “Rainbow Game.” Say to your child “Today lets pick out a fruit and vegetable that is yellow,” and work your way through the rainbow.
- At this age kids want to feel like they have some say in what they eat. Let your kids plan the menu.
- Take them shopping with you to buy all the ingredients.
- Let them help you prepare the meal. Kids are generally more likely to eat healthy food when they have helped plan and prepare meal.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov suggests naming a food your child helps make such as “Janie’s Salad” or “Jackie’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner.
- Oh the wonderful teens! To make healthy eating fun at this age you must think like a teen. Teach teenagers that eating “healthier” doesn’t mean that they need to give up their favorite foods altogether. It is all about balance and for many teens, this means eating the right amount of food.
- Pay attention to portion sizes, not too much and not too little. It also means adding foods with nutritional value to their diet, for example having a smaller bag of chips along with an apple or switching from higher fat chips to pretzels.
- Have your teen help cook dinner. This is a perfect opportunity for you to help him become more knowledgeable about food safety and preparation as well as providing ample time for the both of you to catch up.
Please share any tips you have on getting your kids to eat healthy!
When kids cook they are more likely to eat what they make. This is because cooking creates a sense of ownership and a willingness to try new foods. If you what to help your child develop healthy eating habits teaching them how to cook or including them in the cooking process is necessary.
This infographic from COOKSMARTS shows some great ways to include kids of any age in the cooking process.
Teach and help your kids understand where their food comes from.
Does you child eat breakfast? Most of you are probably saying of course! Everyone knows how important breakfast is for kids, yet most parents are not eating breakfast themselves. Breakfast is the most important meal for us too and for all the same reasons as it is for kids. (See diagram below)
Eating breakfast is one of those things you know you should do, but you skip it anyway. Why? What’s your reason for not breaking your fast? Do you think that eating breakfast isn’t that important, that you don’t have time, or that it will help you lose weight?
Skipping breakfast actually makes some people eat more food at lunch and dinner then they should. As a result, skipping breakfast may cause weight gain by making you eat excessively later in the day.
No time for breakfast? Breakfast doesn’t have to be some huge hot meal or be eaten sitting at the kitchen table for it to be healthy. It can be something as easy as a smoothie, some fruit or yogurt with granola.
As parents we preach eat your breakfast and it’s the most important meal, but not we must practice what we preach and set a good example for are kids.
Food Revolution Day is tomorrow Friday May 16th! Why not cook up a healthy delicious meal with your kids. Pick a recipe, go shop for the ingredients and cook it together! Another fun way to celebrate Food Revolution Day is to host a potluck that will bring people together, share food, and get kids involved in the cooking.
Check out the recipes http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/recipes/
Daily dose – don’t be a short-order chef!
I love fruits and vegetables and I love all the health benefits too. Used this chart to help you associate produce of different colors with nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that can contribute to your health. Eat well!
Daily Dose – More tips for getting your kids to eat more fruit.
Daily Dose – Help your kids eat more fruit!
Daily Dose – Explore new foods and flavors!