Help Your Child Grow Up Healthy and Strong
Sharing meals is an ideal way for the family to spend time together. Whether
you're eating at home or eating out on the go, it's important to eat smart.
- Be consistent. Establish a family meal routine, and set times for
breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Eat together whenever possible.
- Take charge of the foods your children eat. When you serve a meal, your
child can choose to eat it or not; but don't offer to substitute an unhealthy
alternative when your child refuses to eat what you've served.
- Restrict children's access to the refrigerator and snack cupboards.
- Turn off the TV during meals, and limit kids' snacking when watching
- Serve a vegetable or fruit with every meal and at snack time.
- Reward your kids with praise and fun activities rather than with
- Involve your children in meal planning and food preparation. They are more
likely to eat what they help to make.
- While shopping and cooking, teach your children about the food groups and
the importance of a balanced diet. Throughout the day, choose the types and
amounts of foods you need from the five food groups.
- Teach your children how to read food labels and use the 5%-20% guide to
Daily Values to make better food choices. See www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Resources/Nibbles/readit_session.pdf
for more information.
- Limit foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added
sugars, and make sure to get enough fiber and calcium.
- Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, roasting and grilling, and
choose healthy fats when you use them, such as olive or canola oils.
- Serve water, low-fat or nonfat milk with and between meals. Only children
under two years always need to drink whole milk.
- Teach your children how to make wise food choices away from home, at school
cafeterias, restaurants, and vending machines. Teach them to pay attention to
both the quality and quantity of their food choices. More food is not always
better for them; appropriate portion sizes need to be understood.