How to Help Your Child Make Healthy Food Choices
Healthy eating creates healthy children
- Healthy eating is important for strong bones, teeth, muscles and a healthy heart.
- Helping your child make healthy food choices can help them maintain a healthy weight and stay healthy throughout their lives.
- Children who have a healthy diet perform better in school.
- Research shows that children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they take part in regular meals.
Eat together as a family
- Introduce new foods to your child.
- Discuss what foods your child likes, doesn’t like and why.
- Notice if your child is not eating a variety of foods and brainstorm ideas for how to increase the choices.
- Turn off the TV and other electronics and talk during meal time.
- Talk to your child about the variety of healthy foods you are eating.
Make grocery shopping and preparing meals a family activity
- Talk to your child about food options he can help you make.
- Talk to your child about nutrition labels while shopping and make him aware of what each part of the label means.
- Think about how everyone in the family can be involved in creating family meals. Planning meals, making a salad, chopping vegetables, stirring the pot, setting the table, and cleaning the dishes are all possible contributions.
Stock up on healthier foods
- Have fruits and vegetables available.
- Limit fast food intake to an occasional treat.
- Choose 100% juice, low fat milk, and water as healthier drink choices.
- Plant a small garden with your child and have her prepare food from it.
Be a role model
- Limit your portion sizes.
- Eat fruits and vegetables and encourage your children to do so.
- Try to keep a positive approach to healthier food options.
Make food fun!
- Think of fun ways to present the food, for example create faces on the plates with fruits or vegetables or making smoothies.
- Attend the local farmers’ market and have your children sample new fruits and vegetables.
- Search the internet for healthy recipes.
- Contact community organizations, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, that have activities for families and children to learn about healthy choices.
- Attend workshops that provide information on how to get your child to try new foods.