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How to Encourage Healthy Eating in Your Kids

Healthy Eating for Kids
Showing your kids healthy eating habits and how to be physically active are two of the most valuable lessons you can teach.

These habits help them stay healthy and lay the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

Healthful Eating Basics

Healthy eating helps kids grow and develop properly, and even to do well in school. Whether your kids are tots, teens or in between, healthy eating comes down to these basics:

  • Healthy eating includes watching portion sizes so kids don’t take in more calories than they need. This is especially important for less nutritious foods, beverages that contain added sugars, and solid fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Watching portion sizes so kids don’t get more calories than they need. This is especially important for less nutritious foods and beverages that contain added sugars and solid fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats. Many kids eat too much saturated fat and trans fats.
  • Balance the amount of food kids eat with regular physical activity to promote a healthy weight.

Make half your grains whole. The grain group includes whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereals, brown rice, and popcorn and enriched grains such as white bread, rice and pasta. Whole grains contain fiber, which helps kids stay regular and may help them maintain a healthy weight. Enriched grains provide B-vitamins and iron.

  • Tip: Check the Nutrition Facts label to see if a whole grain food contains at least 3g of fiber per serving, such as whole grain crackers or low fat popcorn.

Vary your veggies. Encourage your kids to eat a healthy variety of vibrantly colored veggies from the vegetables group, especially dark green options such as broccoli and spinach, and orange ones such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Veggies supply kids with fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C and E.

Fruit facts. Nature’s sweet treats in the fruit group give kids fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Just as with veggies, it’s important for kids to eat lots of differently colored fruits. Most of the time, choose whole fruits over juices or fruit snacks. When choosing juice, look for 100% fruit juice.

  • Tip: For quick snacks, fill the fruit bowl with your kids’ favorites, such as oranges, bananas, and washed apples. Keep it within easy reach on the countertop. Learn more about snack ideas for kids.

Get your calcium-rich foods. These milk group foods include milk, yogurt and cheese, which provide the calcium kids need to build strong bones and teeth, plus protein and potassium.

  • Tip: Add extra calcium to a lunchtime favorite: Serve grilled cheese made with KRAFT 2% Milk Reduced Fat Singles. Pair it with tomato soup made with fat free milk instead of water.

Go lean with protein. The meat & beans group includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, peas, eggs, nuts, soy and seeds. In addition to protein, this group gives kids iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and an assortment of B vitamins.

Oils aren’t a food group, but kids need some for good health. They supply vitamin E and are found in fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils.