fruits and vegetables arranged in a rainbow

Eating Smart

Eating smart teaches children to make healthy choices in situations that they have control over, such as snack time. While parents determine foods children eat at meals, it is important to empower young children to make healthy choices when it is their turn to choose (e.g., snacks). This includes helping children understand what healthy means; teaching MyPlate and how to get a balanced snack; teaching children that some foods can be eaten daily and others only once in a while.

two boys and a girl playing a food naming game

Exploring Food

Eating a variety of foods is important for building strong bones and healthy bodies. Eating the same foods every day limits the wide array of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. It can be difficult to get children to eat a variety of foods and they often become picky eaters. There are many ways to help children explore foods and increase taste preferences for a variety of new options.

two boys holding a large watermelon wedge

Healthy Portions

Children grow at rapid rates during the first stage of their lives but slow down year by year at a rate that is appropriate for them. Ensure that children get enough sleep, physical activity and adequate nutrition. This means serving and teaching children the right portion sizes for their bodies (not too much, not too little). The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers guidelines on how much children need at different ages, but children should also learn to serve themselves and listen to their bodies, such as learning to listen to when they are hungry and when they are full, while still maintaining snack and mealtime routines.

 a girl watching her dad slice a vegetable

Engaging Children

Providing a child with family mealtime routines increases their sense of security and well-being. There are many benefits both social and health-related that a family can expect when eating together. It is important not only to include children in family mealtime dining and conversation but also in preparation such as shopping, cooking and preparing meals and snacks. Ensure that the activities children engage in are age-appropriate.

a boy peeling grapes

Nutrition Activities & Recipes

A variety of recipes that can be made at home with your children, healthy lunch ideas, and more.

Learn more about the program contributor(s)

Anne Lindsay
Program Leader & Contact
Susan Taylor
Program Contact

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