Quick Tips: Making Friends With Food

Remind kids (and yourself) why good food is good.

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Here are some tips for helping kids know…that Food is Good!

Tie food to things your child cares about.

  • Explain that protein in lean meats builds muscle and strength for sports.
  • Whole grains and the vitamins in fruits and vegetables help our brains focus in school.
  • Calcium in dairy builds healthy bones and teeth.
  • Antioxidants in vegetables and berries fight infections and keep us healthy.

Play:

Role-play with your child. Make a pretend trip to the grocery or farmer’s market and explore healthy foods using toys like the Food Groups – Wooden Play Food, Cutting Fruit Set, or Play-Time Produce Vegetables.

 

Food Is Fun

Present kids with a variety of healthy foods from the time they hit the high chair.

  • Turn mealtime into game time. Cut sandwiches in cookie-cutter shapes or make fun snacks like “ants on a log” from celery stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese and topped with raisins.
  • Keep healthy snacks out front, and junk food out of sight. If there’s a fruit bowl on the counter and yogurt in the fridge, kids will gravitate toward it.

 

Play:

Try a scavenger hunt. Depending on your child’s age, use the Food Peg Puzzle, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Puzzle Set, or a simple list to identify healthy foods in the house, then go hunting. Bonus: Eating your treasures together!

 

Food Is For Sharing

Studies show shared mealtimes lead to better nutrition and, maybe, better behavior.

  • Sitting down to family dinners builds relationships and healthy habits. If this isn’t a tradition in your household, consider making it one.

 

Food Is Personal

Honor your child’s preferences while steering them toward healthier choices.

  • If your child craves potato chips, substitute baked sweet potato fries.
  • Instead of sugary fruit roll-ups, try real dried fruit.
  • Hankering for chocolate? Dip strawberries in chocolate syrup.
  • Making nutritious choices most of the time means special treats are fine. There’s nothing wrong with a weekly ice cream cone!

 

How do you encourage healthy eating with your kids? Let us know in a comment, or start a conversation on Facebook.