Make Healthy Eating Fun for Kids
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|
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|
Top Tips for Picky Eaters
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.
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.
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.
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