Involve the whole family
Children can help set the table or even share a story about the day. Working together as a family can help children feel good about food. Try these easy steps for family mealtime:
Make at home
- Try to bake, broil, steam or microwave instead of frying.
- Make your own salad dressings with vegetable oil and vinegar instead of using high-fat creamy dressings (three parts oil to one part vinegar).
- Make quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas, sliced veggies and reduced-fat cheese.
On the go
- When ordering food, try packaged apple slices or a salad with low-fat dressing on the side instead of fries.
- On the go, order a regular hamburger with no mayo. Try adding flavor with mustard instead.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt. They provide as much protein and calcium as whole-milk products do.
- Try "grilled" choices instead of "fried" (such as a salad with grilled chicken strips).
- Snack on fruits and vegetables such as sliced apples and oranges, carrot sticks, celery, and cucumber sticks. Take them to go in plastic bags or reusable containers.
Food is best when shared with those you love!
You can talk and laugh together over any meal. Below are five ways to enjoy food with your family:
- Make breakfast for dinner. Try scrambled eggs or whole-wheat pancakes.
- Take your lunch to the park.
- Have a rainy-day picnic at home.
- Choose a meal theme, such as a Mexican fiesta. Children can make paper place mats or other decorations.
- Play "Follow the Eater": Have each family member take turns deciding what food to taste a bit of. The other family members then follow along.
You might not always have the whole family together at once, but shared mealtimes can bring your family closer. Your together time can help encourage your children to make healthy choices now and as they grow.