Try taking these steps with your children:
- Having regular meals together reinforces stability in the family. Eating a family breakfast is an especially good time to sit down together– kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school!
- Cooking meals at home is healthier for kids, as well as the entire family. Food cooked at home is less likely to contain the high amount of sodium, sugar, calories and fat that restaurants can have.
- Let your children help you cook! Kids usually enjoy helping prepare meals. They also enjoy participating in grocery shopping and choosing what goes in their lunch box. It’s a good time for you to teach them about the nutritional values in their foods!
- Make sure to keep healthy snacks, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains or certain dairy products on hand. Keep good-for-you beverages, like water, milk and 100% fruit juice, in the refrigerator so that kids can get them easily – it will help your child choose healthy snacks over empty calorie snacks, such as soda, chips, or cookies.
- The clean-plate club is not a must! Don’t insist that your child cleans their plate; that can lead to overeating. Never use food as a reward or a bribe.
To get your children to eat more fruits and vegetables, it takes some persuading. But here are some fun ways to do just that:
- Make a smiley face out of fruit to put on top of a bowl of whole-grain cereal, like oatmeal. Use banana slices for eyes, raisins for the nose, and a peach or apple slice for the mouth.
- Frozen fruit kabobs are great for healthy snacks! Just cut up pineapple, bananas, grapes, and berries, put them on a stick and pop them in the freezer for an hour!
- When grocery shopping, let your kids pick out new fruits and vegetables to try.
- Blend fruit with milk and ice into a fruit smoothie for a healthier breakfast or afternoon snack.
- Feel free to add fruits and veggies to baked goods. Add blueberries to pancakes, zucchini to bread, and carrots in muffins.
- Adding vegetables like peppers, corn or carrots to soups, stews, and sauces makes them more colorful and also tastier!
- Have fruit and veggies washed and cut up, and readily available to eat as snacks. Some great foods to eat on the run include apples, pears, bananas, grapes, carrot sticks, and celery sticks.