Eight Ways to Make Food Fun and Delicious for Children
Getting children to eat a variety of healthy foods can often be a challenge. Here are some tips to help make food fun and delicious for your family:
- Take your children to the commissary or local grocery store with you and point out colorful fruits and vegetables. Talk about eating the colors of the rainbow and let them pick what they'd like to try. Be a good sport even if it's something you don't care for.
- Ask the produce manager for bite-size samples.
- Talk to your children about healthy sources of whole grains, dairy, and protein and teach them to read labels.
- Farmers' markets – many of which re-open in the spring – are a great place for children to learn about how foods are grown and to try new things.
- Let young ones pick out seeds to plant their own mini-garden. If they helped to grow it, they will be invested in eating it.
- Invite your children into the kitchen to help you prepare meals or snacks, and make it an easy and fun activity. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of whole-grain bread. Suggest that your children come up with new ideas for snacks. Let them make their own custom trail mix with whole-grains, low-sugar cereal, and dried fruit (without added sugar).
- Offer great-tasting smoothies made out of Greek yogurt and frozen fruit instead of heavy milkshakes. Try cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips.
- Children tend to love a fun presentation of food and may enjoy food on a stick or toothpick. Let them help you assemble vegetable or fruit kebabs with cheese cubes. Or, create a colorful arrangement of fruits and vegetables on their plates and provide a healthy dip to add to the fun.
Here are some fun recipes and ideas to try:
- Watermelon Kebabs page 42
- Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip
- Vegan Tzatziki page 20
- Strawberry-Raspberry Sundaes page 21
- Banana Breakfast Smoothie
- Make-Your-Own Snack Mix
- Make Food Fun For Picky Eaters
- Kitchen Activities for Preschoolers
Healthy meals and snacks can taste great and are only boring if you make them that way. By experimenting with new ingredients and presenting food in fun and creative ways, you can help boost your family’s health and well-being.
What is your best tip to get children excited about food?
- Operation Live Well– Make the healthy choice an easier choice
- Let’s Move! – Eat Healthy/Healthy Families
- Choose My Plate
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Nutrition for Everyone:
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - We Can! – Eat Right:
- U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Search