AdventureMom guest blogger Kathy Dalton shares tips for helping kids make healthy food choices and love every bite!
In 2012 US government changed the “Food Pyramid” to “Choose My Plate”. This new change is a great place to start when teaching children to make healthy food choices. The plate illustrates portion size. The new guide is visual and children can relate to a plate more than a pyramid. In even better news, healthy kid menu choices are taking the restaurant scene by storm, so finding delicious and nutritious kid-friendly options is easier than ever.
Teaching children to make healthy eating choices can be a fun way to teach color and creativity whether you’re dining in or out.
– Color: have them count the number of colors on their plate
– Names: make up fun names of food like “Crazy Carrots” or “Silly Green Beans.” This can be especially fun in a restaurant since you are more likely to find foods on the menu that you wouldn’t necessarily have at home.
– Undercover vegetables: add vegetables to regular foods they eat in disguise or look for menu items with inconspicuous veggie additions. For example broccoli is a great addition to macaroni and cheese.
– Presentation: kid trays are a fun way to organize their meals and most restaurants have a fun way to display your child’s food. Try asking the server if a fruit smile or broccoli face would be possible. (But remember to show your appreciation in your tip anytime a server goes above and beyond.)
– Food prep: encourage children to eat their vegetables by including the children in the preparation process. Food prep can also be a fun way to bond with your children and hear how their day is going.
– Utensils: using different utensils to eat the food can be a fun and creative way to make eating fun.
- Size: tiny forks or large serving spoon
- Cups: fill cups with corn or peas and allow children to “drink” their vegetable
TIP: Print out the “Choose My Plate” graphic the same size as your child’s plate and show them what the portion sizes should be. Then let the children fill their own plates and test it with the template or help them to identify the foods on their own menu before they order.
Do you have a favorite tip on how to teach children to eat healthy? We’d love to hear from you!
Kathy Dalton is a Restaurant.com Blog Ambassador who lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and 2 children. She’s also the face behind AdventureMom.TV. AdventureMom helps adventurous moms raise adventurous kids who are worn-out after a day full of outdoor fun. WIth the latest technology, social media, video, photography and blog postings, they demonstrate tips and tricks for all things al fresco. Readers can find outdoor product reviews, family travel activities, as well as dining and vacation planning for unique family escapades.