Healthy Eating for Kids

6 Nutrition Tips for Kids

Good nutrition and good health go hand in hand. When you make food choices for your kids, think of them as health decisions. Here are just a few ways you can teach your kids healthy eating habits.

  1. Start early – Developing good nutritional habits begins as soon as your child starts eating regular food, at age 1 or earlier. Plan meals ahead so you can always make healthy choices available to your child.
  2. Serve healthy options – Just like you, kids need plenty of healthy proteins, vegetables and fruits. Provide your child with nutritious selections from each of the basic food groups at mealtimes.
  3. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages – On average, sugar makes up 17% of what kids consume each day. That's a lot of sugar ― and half of that comes from drinks with added sugar.
  4. Eat as a family – Eat with your kids whenever possible, offering healthy meals. They’ll learn good nutritional habits by modeling what you do.
  5. Make foods fun – Present colorful foods in interesting shapes or add sauces to spark your kids’ interest. Let them try foods with a wide variety of tastes, colors and textures.
  6. Get them involved – Kids often enjoy being part of meal planning and preparation. Let them help mix ingredients for dinner or select from a choice of nutritious sides.

Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

About 40% of U.S. children are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity is now recognized as a public health priority. It’s never too early to start helping your kids maintain a healthy weight for life. Throughout childhood, simple steps can help keep your child from gaining excess weight, including:

  • cutting back on sugary beverages
  • adding more fruits and vegetables
  • increasing physical activity

Additionally, being at a healthy weight helps protect children from chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, orthopedic problems and liver disease.

Mercy Pediatrics