Sun, Mar 23, 2014

Eight Ways to Make Food Fun and Delicious for Children

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Eight Ways to Make Food Fun and Delicious for Children Image credit: Kimberly Bacso

Eight Ways to Make Food Fun and Delicious for ChildrenGetting 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:

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?

Helpful Resources:

Christopher Lopez

Christopher Lopez is the senior spokesperson for Operation Live Well (OLW), the Department of Defense's (DoD) long-term initiative to improve the health and wellness of the 10+ million members of the U.S. defense community, including Service Members and their families, retirees, and DoD civilians. OLW is a multi-year effort that involves an education, information and outreach campaign along with demonstration projects such as the Healthy Base Initiative, which has been implemented at 14 DoD sites world-wide. Over time, OLW will work to expand the most effective programs DoD-wide. Chris is also a uniformed public affairs officer in the United States Navy Reserve.

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