Promote Healthy Eating

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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Surround your Kids with Healthy Options at Home

Kids eat what is available and what they see adults eating. Surround your kids with healthy options at home and demonstrate good nutrition to encourage a lifetime of healthy eating. Healthy eating habits formed during childhood lead to a healthy life.

Kids need different amounts of foods at different ages, genders and activity levels. Proper nutrition is key.

Parents can teach their children good eating habits by being positive role models in their own choices and by explaining to their children the importance of a balanced diet and how to choose healthy options from each food group. Learn about your child’s nutrition requirements.

Mother Involving her Daughter in Food Choices

Improve Your Family’s Nutrition Habits

Involve your Kids in Food Choices

  • Include your kids when planning the weekly family menu.
  • Look at your school’s website together to see what is being served, and decide if you will make breakfast and lunch at home or buy it at school.
  • Shop for groceries together. Make a list before you go to the store and only buy foods on the list. Once in the store, let your kids help you find items on the list. Read food labels out loud and talk about the choices you are making.
  • Invite your child to cook with you. They are more likely to try new foods if they’ve helped to prepare them.
  • Hold family tastings. Buy different brands of a healthy food (whole grain pasta, for example) and let family members decide what they like best.

Snack Healthy

  • Healthy snack ideas include:
    • Fruits (sliced or cubed, applesauce or dried fruit without added sugar)
    • Vegetables and dips (try carrots and ranch dressing, celery sticks and peanut butter, snap peas with hummus)
    • Whole grains (pitas, tortillas, rice cakes, popcorn, granola)
    • Low-fat dairy foods (yogurt)
    • Nuts and trail mix
  • Give your child a variety of healthy options, so there is no wrong choice.

Reduce Sugar

  • Offer water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice instead of juice drinks, sports drinks or soda.
  • Do not give sweets or candy as a reward. Try nonfood rewards or family activities instead.

Watch Your Own Habits

  • Never skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Avoid fast-food restaurants by planning meals and snacks in advance, before leaving home.
  • Eat only when you are hungry. Teach (and show) healthy alternatives to eating when bored, frustrated, anxious or sad. (Exercise, reading and working on a project are good options.)
  • Enjoy family meals together whenever possible.

Learn more

  • USDA Provides practical information to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information.