Are you thinking about ways to improve your lifestyle and your health? Most people believe that to eat healthy, you have to change all your eating habits overnight. It’s not true. Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods forever. And the changes you do need to make don’t have to happen all at once. In fact, if you make the changes gradually, you’re more likely to stick to them. Suddenly switching your eating habits can lead to failure and frustration. Good nutrition doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So start by taking small steps and ease yourself into it. You’re more likely to succeed.
Different colored fruits and vegetables provide you with the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy. Eating a variety of colors helps you to get more of the nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that keeps you healthy and may reduce your risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Lower risk of some cancers
Strong bones and teeth
Spinach, Lettuce, Green peas, Green beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Bok Choy, Artichokes, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Asparagus, Kale, Cauliflower, Watercress, Kiwi, Honeydew melon, Green grapes, Green apples, Limes, Avocadoes
Healthy Eating - Getting Your Preschooler to Eat Healthy
Healthy Eating Tips for Parents of Preschoolers
How can I help my child eat more fruits and vegetables? Role modeling. They learn from watching you. Eat fruits and veggies and your kids will too.
Eat together. Let your child see you enjoying fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks.
Take it with you. Show your child how whole fruit is a great snack to eat at the park or in the shopping mall. Put apples, oranges, or bananas in your bag for quick snacks.
Share the adventure. Try new fruits and vegetables together.
Fix them together. Teach your child to tear lettuce or add veggie toppings to pizza.
Why does it matter what I do?
They learn by watching you. Kids get curious when they see you eating fruits or vegetables. Before you know it, they’ll want to taste what you are having.
You teach them lessons they’ll use for life. It’s normal for 2- to 5-year-olds to be “picky” eaters. Help them increase the types of fruits and vegetables they like by setting a good example.
What kinds should we eat?
Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables are all smart choices. Buy some of each to last until your next shopping trip.
Frozen vegetables have as many vitamins and minerals as fresh. Choose packages that contain vegetables and nothing else–no added fat, salt, or sugars.
Buy canned fruits that are packed in “100% juice” or water.
Rinse canned beans and vegetables with cold water to make them lower in salt.
Look for canned vegetables that say “No added salt” on the front of the can. Buy them when they go on sale.
Cooked vegetables or ripe fruits that are cut into small pieces are easy for your child to eat.
Cut whole grapes and cherry tomatoes into smaller pieces to prevent choking.
Eating Together It takes a little work to bring everyone together for meals. But it’s worth it and the whole family eats better.
Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young. This way, it becomes a habit.
Plan when you will eat together as a family. Write it on your calendar.
You may not be able to eat together every day. Try to have family meals at least four times a week.
How to make family meals happy
Focus on the meal and each other. Turn off the television. Take phone calls later.
Talk about fun and happy things. Try to make meals a stress-free time.
Encourage your child to try foods. But, don’t lecture or force your child to eat.
Fast family meals
Cook it fast on busy nights. Try stir-fried meat and vegetables, quick soups, or sandwiches.
Do some tasks the day before. Wash and cut vegetables or make a fruit salad. Cook lean ground beef or turkey for burritos or chili. Store everything in the fridge until ready to use.
Cooking Together Teach your kids to create healthy meals. It’s a lesson they’ll use for life. Kids like to try foods they help make. It’s a great way to encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.” Give them small jobs to do. Praise their efforts. Their smiles will light up your kitchen. Kids love helping in the kitchen. Parents love knowing that their child is also learning skills they’ll use for life. Help teach them to follow instructions, count, and more! Prepare fruits and veggies together.
Children learn about fruits and vegetables when they help make them. And all of that mixing, mashing, and measuring makes them want to taste what they are making. It’s a great trick for helping your “picky eater” try fruits and vegetables.
On busy weeknights…
Cooking together can mean more “mommy and me” time on busy days. Ask your child to help with easy tasks, like adding veggie toppings to a cheese pizza.
Let your child choose which veggies to add to soup. Only an adult should heat and stir hot soup.
Make sandwiches together.
Make some meals special.
Have a color contest and see how many green, red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables you can include in one meal.
Name a food your child helps create. Make a big deal of serving “Karla’s Salad” or “Corey’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner.
Try a “Make Your Own” night. Let your family put together its own soft tacos, sandwiches, pizza, or salads. Place the ingredients within easy reach and let the fun begin.
Cooking Activities by Age 2-year-olds Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables. Scrub vegetables or fruits. Tear lettuce or greens. Snap green beans. 3-year-olds Add ingredients. Stir. Spread peanut butter or other spreads. Shake a drink in a sealed container. Knead bread dough. 4- to 5-year-olds Peel some fruits and vegetables like bananas. Peel hard boiled eggs. Cut soft fruits with a plastic knife. Only adults should use sharp knives. Wipe off counters. Mash soft fruits, vegetables, and beans. Measure dry ingredients. Measure liquids with help.
Healthy Eating - Eating Out - Making Healthy Choices
Go Green: Try a salad that is infused with grilled chicken, shrimp or vegetables with fat-free or low-fat dressing on the side. Try to avoid salads with deep fried or breaded chicken, and cheese, bacon bits, croutons etc.
Grilled is Great: Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
Ask for whole wheat bread for sandwiches.
Start with a salad. In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
Choose a “mini” or “medium” portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
Order an item from the menu instead of heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.
If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
Order an appetizer or side dish instead of an entrée.
Share a main dish with a friend.
Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.
To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:
Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
Add little or no butter to your food.
Choose fruits for dessert most often.
If the menu doesn’t say how the food is being prepared, ask questions. You can usually ask for your food to be grilled, steamed or baked.
Why fill up on bread? Ask if fresh or steamed vegetables are available, or order a small dinner salad before your meal.
Watch those sauces and dressings. Order them on the side, you’ll be surprised how little you actually need.
We live in the era of “super sizing” and getting more for your money. Try to remember what they serve is usually more than a serving. Ask for a take out box right from the beginning, place half in the box and enjoy the half that remains on your plate.
Enjoy each bite of your meal. We often live our lives rushing from place to place, use your meal as a time to slow down. It takes the body approximately 20 minutes to know that it is full.
Making small changes can make a big difference. Try these options: