As a part of our Athlos Healthy Body pillar, we focus on the importance of nutrition and building healthy-eating habits at a young age. Children who practice healthy habits, such as exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods, perform better at school and in life. Here are just a few tips to inspire children to be excited about health and nutrition outside of school.
Get creative in the kitchen. Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters. Name the food your child helps make. Serve “Janie’s Salad” or “Jack’s Sweet Potatoes.” Encourage your child to invent new snacks.
Go shopping together. Grocery shopping can teach children about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins come from. Encourage healthy choices.
Make family mealtime a priority. Talk about fun and happy things at mealtime. Turn off the television and take phone calls later. Try to make meal time a fun, family activity.
Satisfy a sweet tooth in a healthy way. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish — fruit! Serve a fresh fruit salad or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, serve apples and topped with cinnamon.
Try new foods. Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, kale, lentils, quinoa, or beets. You might just find a new favorite!
Play detective in the grocery store. Show children how to find the amount of total sugars on the nutrition facts label in various food products. Challenge them to compare foods they like and to select those with the lowest amounts of sugar.
Make meal planning a family activity. Encourage children to be a part of the meal-planning process. This will teach them what ingredients make up their meals and give them a sense of ownership in what they are eating each day.
*Tips compiled from the United States Department of Agriculture 10 Tips Nutrition Education series.