I am a big proponent of involving children in food preparation. I had a wonderful experience teaching special education preschoolers how to make whole-grain bread. It was magical for the children, the staff, and for me.
My wife has encouraged school staff to feature one healthy food every week. During the school year, classes encourage children to try a new food and prepare it. They have tried various fruits, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, apples and oatmeal. When you get kids involved in the growing, picking and preparation of food, they become much more interested. Learning from an activity is great for children.
Another idea is to have simple ingredients laid out on a table, so that diners can compile their own plates or bowls for a meal. This gives them some control over what goes into their food. It also lets them experiment as much as they feel comfortable. You can do this with salads, vegetables and various dips, and even with garnishes for soups and casseroles.
I involve my son in grocery shopping and encourage him to make better choices when he is tempted by those sweet, white foods of childhood! We discuss food groups, ingredient lists, and choosing what he eats to complement what he has eaten already that particular day. I also enjoy observing what he chooses in the store, as I get a better picture of what his body is naturally craving.
We are lucky to live on enough land to plant a vegetable garden and cultivate fruit trees and bushes. We have a plethora of foods to watch grow throughout the seasons. I think it is important for my son to plant the seeds, watch the blooms turn into fruit, and delight in the results of the harvesting.
I believe that kids can make better food choices when given information. I strive to be a good role model but I don't try to hide my flaws either. I want my son to know that even as an adult, I am always trying to make better choices for my own health and well-being. Life is all about making choices, yes?