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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Top 10 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Better

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It’s common for parents to want to get kids to eat better. Use these ten ideas to kickstart new behaviors and happy mealtimes.

With busy schedules and picky eaters, it can seem difficult to get kids to eat better. These are simple steps that you can start today with the kids.

1.  Get them involved.

Include them in meal prep by having them wash the veggies, set the table, fill the water cups and clean off the placements.

2. Grow your own groceries.

This is the best way to eat seasonal and local, save money, empower your children with an invaluable life skill and convert picky eaters into vegetable lovers! Read about starting your own family garden, community gardens or utilize Super Crew learning activities to get your kids interested in gardening.

3. Color it up!

Colors are appealing! Keep frozen fruits in the freezer -kids will eat them right out of the bag like a sweet frozen dessert. Kids like crunchy –offer raw sugar snack peas, jicama or julienne style cucumber. Remember all colors count even those missing from the rainbow, like black beans, brown rice, or white cauliflower. Learn more about the benefits of different colors of fruits and vegetables.

4. Be a healthy role model!

Kids will do what their parents do when they’re young, and that includes eating.  Make sure you set a good example by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and keeping them stocked in the house. Learn more about the importance of role modeling.

5. Eat together!

Make it a point to eat dinner together at least once a week.   Research shows that families that eat dinner together tend to have more healthful diets that are higher in fruits, vegetables, and calcium and lower in saturated fat.

6. Make it a family affair!

Try a new fruit or vegetable as a family once a week.  Rate it, discuss it, and talk about it.  Remember don’t overcook your veggies – you’ll cook out the taste.  Try some yummy fall root vegetables like beets or turnips! Roast them in the oven with a little olive oil to bring out their natural sweetness. Or take the kids shopping and let them pick out something new to try –like broccolini – a sweeter version of broccoli.  Then go home and cook a new recipe together.

7. Let fruits and vegetables reign in your house!

Keep them washed, peeled, cut and available at the front of the fridge, on kitchen countertops, on the dining table, etc. Keep chips and pretzels out of sight and offer nuts, low-fat dairy or whole grains instead to provide growing kids with the nutrients they need.

8. Make hunger your ally.

Serve veggies as an appetizer before lunch, dinner or after school when the kids are at their hungriest. They are more likely to munch on healthy food choices when they’re hungry.

9. Cool names make a difference.

No little kid can resist super-vision carrots or dinosaur trees (broccoli) with swamp sauce (healthy side dressing).

10. Make it fun and exciting!

Read, play and learn about healthy foods together as a family to get kids to eat better.  Go on a healthy food scavenger hunt at a farmer’s market or your local grocery store.  Play together in your kids play kitchen then conduct a cooking competition in your real kitchen.  Have some fun!  Visit our Healthy Kids Today, Prevent Cancer Tomorrow for activities the entire family can enjoy.


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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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