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Playtime Ideas for Raising Healthy Eaters

2013-04-03 by Julie Kieras

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3 ways to encourage healthy eating

You can encourage kids to eat healthy by getting them involved. You’ve probably sat across the table from a picky child who refused to eat their veggies, or would not eat anything except French fries. We know the struggle! Making healthy snacks available, and then giving them freedom of choice is a good start!

Being a healthy eating model is important, and don’t give up. Teach healthy eating habits early. Raising healthy eaters takes years of cultivating good habits, good attitudes, and good examples. Increase the opportunities to talk about healthful food choices with your child with these playtime ideas:

  • Food shopping with kids

Take a trip to a local farmers market or grocery store to teach kids about where their food comes from. See what fruits and vegetables are in season. Have them choose one new fruit or vegetable to try each week.  This helps to give them a positive attitude toward nutritious food.

Download our FOOD SHOPPING PRINTABLE HERE to take on your trip!

You can encourage kids to eat healthy by getting them involved. You’ve probably sat across the table from a picky child who refused to eat their veggies, or would not eat anything except French fries. We know the struggle! Making healthy snacks available, and then giving them freedom of choice is a good start!

  • “Food Rainbow” Craft

playtime healthy eating sticker play

This is a simple activity to teach your child to recognize healthful foods.  Grab some food-shaped stickers (like the Make-a-Meal Stickers), crayons and some construction paper to get started!

Let your child (or assist) draw a rainbow across the entire paper, then search the sticker set for foods that match the colors. Children will enjoy matching the food color to the rainbow drawing, and it will give you time to talk to your child about why each food item is yummy and good for them!

playtime healthy eaters crafting

When completed your child will have a brilliantly colored display of food choices that are good for them!

*Tip: Transition their rainbow craft to mealtime by asking how many rainbow colors they can eat!

  • Create a “Good Foods” Plate

As your child to create (using stickers, or just by drawing) a “good foods” plate, complete with main course, side dish and beverage! Older kids can complete a plate using food items from each of the four food groups. Then, laminate your child’s food rainbow and plate creations to showcase their artwork at the table and serve as a visual reminder of healthful food choices!

For younger kids, use wooden play food to teach the four main food groups. Use the wooden containers to sort the food items into their four groups. Instead of matching like pieces (color with color), this is a step up where children match items to categories.

playtime healthy eaters play food activity

Then, ask your child to create a delicious meal that includes an item from each food group! Eat up – it’s delicious!

Using playtime to discuss and interact with food and healthful eating choices reinforces the good example and variety of choices you already instilling at the table!

 

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Julie Kieras

Julie Kieras mothers two inquisitive boys with the support of her husband in the lovely four seasons of New England. She is often found at home interpreting toddler-speak, elbow deep in Play Dough, or behind the pages of a book. She blogs about her family life at HappyStrongHome.com.

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