A Day of Healthy Eating with Young Children

Ideas and Menu for Healthy Eating with Children, by Lauri Nichols

kids grocery Getting children to eat a healthy diet can be challenging. A few good ways to teach children how to eat well is to get them excited about the foods they are eating. Shopping for food with little ones in tow can pose an obstacle to good eating, but letting your children help you locate and select the items off your grocery list is not only a good way keep them entertained at the store, but it gets them excited about eating the food they helped pick out. Also, allowing children to help prepare the food, and serve it, increases the likelihood that they will actually eat it. In addition, letting your children choose between a few “good” options at mealtimes encourages good choices and lets them feel they have some control over what they are eating (this can be a big issue for older children). But of course, the best way to teach your children good eating habits is to practice them yourself!

kids help kitchen
Here is a sample menu I put together for a days worth of healthy, and fun, eating with young children. Click here for a link to mealsmatter.org for healthy recipes and ideas for making good food choices with children. Also, click here for a link to Judy Learn’s “Twenty Tips for Feeding Toddlers”.

Scrambled eggs with cottage cheese (even little ones can help “scramble” the eggs)
Add chopped bell peppers or salsa (kids choice)
Multigrain toast with margarine
Strawberry/melon fruit salad

Midmorning snack
Sliced apples
Yogurt dip (kids can help stir in vanilla and sprinkle on some cinnamon)

Turkey pita pocket sadwiches
- sliced turkey (I used Thanksgiving leftovers)
- whole-grain pita pockets
Add cheese, lettuce, tomato (kids help stuff the pockets)
Add ranch dressing
Sliced cucumbers, carrots, or peppers (kids choice)

Afternoon snack
Whole grain crackers
Spread with peanut butter or cheese (kids choice)

Home made chicken “nuggets”
- chicken breast dipped in egg wash + pureed green beans, bread crumbs
- (I admit, I got this recipe from Deceptively Delicous, a great cookbook for "sneaking" vegetables into everyday food)
Steamed broccoli or brussel sprouts (kids choice)
Sweet-potato “fries”

children eating

My children really liked helping mommy cook all day – they thought it was so fun. They didn’t eat all the food off their plate, but that was okay because I know they made good choices and had enough energy to play all day!

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