Here’s How to Get Kids Excited About Healthy Eating

Serve Up Nutrition in Snacks for ChildrenPatrick Foto / Shutterstock
Worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrition in their diet? Using snacks to pack a punch of nutrition, fun and no fuss can be manageable, even with a tight schedule.

On the weekends, you can plan ahead for the week. Make a game out of it and provide a chart with nutritious options on it and have your child circle or stamp the options they’re interested in. The chart can be a colorful printout or doodles between you and your child. Tailor the activity based on their age and personality.

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Make fun plates of snacks to share such as:

  • Mini broccoli trees with yogurt dip. Pinch off small broccoli pieces (the mini size factor is fun!) and make a dip together.

  • Fruit face. Place apple slices on a plate in the shape of a smile with grapes for eyes and a nose.

  • Mini bagels with cream cheese. The mini size factor once again comes into play here, making things easier for small hands.

  • Ants on a log. A celery stick with peanut butter and raisins… yummy and fun! Peanut allergy? Substitute the peanut butter in ants on a log with a real cheese spread instead.

  • A vegetable tray that’s shaped into a scene. Use the green beans for grass, pepper slices for flower stems, little cauliflower pieces or cherry tomatoes for flowers. Having trouble making them stick? Add a dab of hummus to the underside of each piece to throw in another delicious yet nutritious option.

  • Homemade granola. Make it with the children on the weekend and serve with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries. Let the children choose their own seeds, nuts or oats to put in the granola. Flavor with vanilla, almond extract or spices such as cinnamon. Use honey or maple syrup to sweeten. Add dark chocolate, coconut or any other add-ins. Have fun with it. Don’t forget to add butter or oil to help it stick together better. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes and you’re done.

  • Delicious berry smoothies. Add frozen fruit, ice, and yogurt — and when they’re not looking, add in some ground flax seed and blend for an omega-3 essential fatty acid component.

  • Cheese! Use a cookie cutter to cut slices of cheese into fun shapes to serve on crackers

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Encourage healthy eating options

To further encourage healthy eating options, plant or make your own fruit and vegetable garden as space, time and weather permits. This will engage children in the process of growing their food and reaping the benefits of their investment in the garden. Carve out places for them to plant their own choices of fruit or vegetable. Place their name decorated on a plaque and stake to mark their territory. They will feel good that it is their own and take pride in ownership and cultivation.

To teach your kids an appreciation for the value of whole foods, visit farms and show them where natural food comes from. Inform children of how these options will benefit their body (based on their age). Talk about the vitamins and nutrients each snack has. Children will soak this information up and be more likely to choose and eat healthy options.

Dec 15, 2014