Some MoreThoughts on Healthy Eating…for Summer-time and Beyond

Small child with head down on highchair.

Image via Wikipedia

As parents, we are responsible for what our children eat…at least when they are little.

We plan the meals, shop for the ingredients, prepare the food and serve it.

So every young child should be eating a healthy balanced diet, right?

Unfortunately, many young children are NOT eating a healthy balanced diet because:

  • Many parents didn’t have a healthy diet themselves as children and don’t really know what to serve!
  • The media overloads us with commercials about fast food and sugary desserts!
  • Young children can be fussy about eating and concerned parents just want them to eat SOMETHING!

Here are some simple steps parents can take to help:

1.     Plan regular meal-times…if children know they can get something to eat at any time of the day or night, they will not be motivated to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And having family meals together provides so many other emotional and social benefits as well. 

2.     Snacks are important additions to a young child’s daily food intake… provide nutritious ones like veggie sticks dipped in hummus, cheese cubes with whole grain crackers and fruit slices in yogurt.

3.     Serve small portions…young children can be overwhelmed when a plate piled with food is put in front of them…for instance, if your child is having a sandwich, cut it in quarters and serve one quarter at a time.

4.     Use your imagination to make meals pleasing to the eye…attractive plates and servings arranged in an interesting way…for example, a small bowl of spaghetti with two meatballs for the eyes, a steamed baby carrot for the nose and several steamed green beans for the smile.  What fun!  You can always add a new “nose” and new “smile” when your child finishes the first ones.   Or how about using cookie cutters to make interesting shapes of sandwiches?

5.     Avoid processed foods as much as possible…they are usually filled with salt, sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.  When your children become accustomed to these, they can lose their appreciation for the flavor and goodness of wholesome natural foods.

There are many websites that can help with nutrition information and meal planning.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=1

http://www.mealsmatter.org/

http://www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com/healthy-meal-planning.html

For more meal-planning tips, fresh ideas and simple recipes that your children can help prepare, you can get a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…now on sale for 50% off the cover price on my website.  For only $22.50, you will have 100 child-friendly recipes, 100 arts and crafts activities and 100 picture book summaries that all build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  Did you know that this great resource is also a memory book…with lined spaces on every other page for you to record your child’s highlights?

About Vivian Kirkfield

Mom of 3, educator, author of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING. I love reading, crafting and cooking with preschoolers and flyfishing and hiking with my husband.

Posted on July 10, 2011, in children, Cooking with children, health, keeping children healthy, parenting, summer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Excellent suggestions, especially for snacks!

    Here are a few more:
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/fun-with-food-kids-lunches/

  2. Excellent tips Viv! I pray others will find it and practice the tips… too many children run around with little or no food. :-)
    Again, I’m catching up on blog comments after another long 4 day yoga retreat in Boston… I got back Thursday night to over a thousand emails. Will begin a marathon commenting effort shortly! TY! :-)

  3. It is exhausting to read and comment…especially if there are so many following you…but we all appreciate it! Hope you had an awesome time in Boston. Make sure you get up and walk around every hour or so. :)

  4. Nancy…what a great article on school lunches!!!! Thanks for linking it up with mine. I’m actually going to tweet yours also.

  5. Cool! :cool:

    Here’s to nutritious and delicious meals for all!

  1. Pingback: Fun with Food: Kids’ Lunches « Spirit Lights The Way

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