Make Healthy Eating Fun for Kids

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SNACK MACHINE

Mix and match items to design a nutritious snack! Choose items from at least 3 food groups and include a whole grain.

FRUIT VEGGIES PROTEIN WHOLE GRAINS DAIRY/NON-DAIRY FUN ADD-ONS
Orange Slices Bell Peppers Hard Boiled Egg Whole Wheat Crackers Milk or Almond/Soy Milk Avocado
Apple Slices Baby Carrots Chicken Breast Mini Pretzels Yogurt (Regular/Soy/Coconut) Ketchup
Strawberries Baked Sweet Potato Sunbutter or Nut butter Cereal Mozzarella Cheese/Cheese Stick 100% Fruit Jelly
Banana Tomato or Tomato sauce Turkey Slices Granola Frozen Yogurt Mini Dark Chocolate Chips
Mango Sugar Snap Peas Hummus Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
Blueberries Green Salad Black Beans/Chickpeas Whole Wheat English Muffin/Mini Pita Cheddar Cheese Cubes Honey Mustard

Examples:

Mini Pizza: Toast an English Muffin + Tomato Sauce + Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese

Snack Combo: Banana + Nut butter + Whole wheat mini pretzels

MAKE THE SWAP

Here are some easy ways to increase the nutrition value of your child’s diet.

IF YOUR CHILD LOVES... INSTEAD OF... TRY... WHY?
Macaroni & Cheese Regular white pasta Whole wheat or brown rice pasta Boost fiber and B Vitamins with whole grains
Frozen Dessert Ice Cream Blended frozen bananas Provide potassium and sweetness from naturally occurring sugars
Sugary Beverages Fruit Juice Whole fresh fruit Replace sugar & empty calories with fiber & vitamins
Fast Food French Fries Oven baked sweet potato fries Reduce fat and add in vitamins A, C
Peanut Butter & Jelly Fruit Jelly Sliced strawberries or bananas Replace added sugars with real, whole fruit
Grilled Cheese Cheese Avocado Replace saturated fat with healthy monounsaturated fat
Burgers Beef patty Veggie burger patty Reduce saturated fat and meat consumption

BE CREATIVE!

Top Tips for Picky Eaters


KEEP TRYING

Kids do not always take to new foods right away. Research shows that it can take as many as 10 to 15 tastes before a child will learn to appreciate a new flavor. Be patient.

DO IT TOGETHER

Kids get excited about tasting food when they are part of the process. Let your kids be “produce pickers” by encouraging them to select fruits and veggies at the store. When it’s time to prepare the meal, let your little “sous chef” add ingredients, tear and wash lettuce, scrub veggies or stir batter.

NO PRESSURE

Stay neutral. Do not get upset if they refuse a food, and do not offer excessive praise if they taste it. Keep the environment relaxed and pressure-free. Studies show that children react negatively when parents pressure them to eat foods, even if the pressure offers a reward.

BUILD A BRIDGE

Once a food is accepted, fi nd foods with similar colors, textures or flavors to expand the variety of foods a child will eat. You can also mix something new with a familiar staple. Kids are more likely to try new food when it is next to a familiar favorite.

RELAX

Being a picky eater is common for toddlers. Your job is to buy the right food, prepare it nutritiously and serve it creatively. We leave the rest up to the kids. What and how much they are willing to eat may vary daily; aim for a nutritionally-balanced week.

BE PORTION-SAVVY

A healthy toddler needs to consume the same variety of nutrient dense foods as grown-ups, just in smaller portions. An appropriate serving size for most 2 to 3 year olds is about half the size of an adult serving as a general rule of thumb.

PORTION SIZING FOR CHILDREN AGED 2-4 YEARS

Dairy and Milk Products: 2-3 servings Daily 1 serving = 1 cup of milk or yogurt ❘ 1.5 oz of natural cheese ❘ 1/3 cup of shredded cheese

Protein Foods: 2-4 servings Daily 1 serving = 1 oz of beef, poultry or fi sh ❘ 1/4 cup of cooked beans ❘ 1 egg ❘ 1Tbsp of peanut butter ❘ 1/2 oz of nuts

Fruits: 1-1.5 servings Daily 1 serving = 1 cup of fruit ❘ 1 cup of 100% fruit juice ❘ 1/2 cup of dried fruit

Whole Grains & Starches: 3-5 servings Daily 1 serving = 1 slice of bread ❘ 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, pasta ❘ 1 cup dry cereal

Veggies: 1-1.5 servings Daily 1 serving = 1 cup of raw of cooked vegetables or vegetable juice ❘ 2 cups of raw leafy greens

Resources: www.Choosemyplate.gov

Make Healthy Eating Fun for Kids

Make Healthy Eating Fun for Kids