Kids, especially younger ones, will eat mostly what’s available at home. That’s why it’s important to control the supply lines – the foods that you serve for meals and have on hand for snacks. Follow these basic guidelines:
- Work fruits and vegetables into the daily routine, aiming for the goal of 5 servings a day.
- Make it easy for your child to choose healthy snacks by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat. Other good snacks include yogurt, peanut butter and celery, or whole-grain crackers and cheese.
- Serve lean meats and other good sources of protein, such as eggs and nuts.
- Choose whole-grain breads and cereals so your child gets more fiber. (No Wonder Bread and Cocoa Pebbles.)
- Limit fat intake by avoiding deep-fried foods and choosing healthier cooking methods such as broiling, grilling, roasting, and steaming (bake chicken and pork chops).
- Limit fast food and other low-nutrient snacks, such as chips and candy. But don’t completely ban favorite snacks from your home. Instead, make them “once-in-a-while” foods, so your child doesn’t feel deprived. Limit sugary drinks, such as soda, Kool-Aid, Tang and other fruit-flavored drinks. Serve water and milk instead.