3 Tips for Helping Kids Build Healthy Eating Habits


As moms, it can be overwhelming and exhausting thinking about healthy meals for kids. We wonder: Is this good for them? Will they like it? What if they hate it?  Some parents are fortunate and their kids will eat anything. I envy the parents whose kids will munch on cucumbers and oranges and never ask for a jelly bean.  Then there are those “other kids”, (my kids), who ask me for a cake ball for breakfast and donuts for dinner.  Sometimes I feel like I’m at constant war with my boys over what they eat.  Deep down, though, I know I’m doing what’s right by not giving up on my efforts for their nutrition.

Here are my top three tips that have helped my children learn more about healthy foods!

1. Use props – I invested in a few books that I read with my boys.  

2. Get kiddos involved in their food

If they are able to help with healthy eating preparation, they are more likely to be open to trying new healthy things. Allow them to make a smoothie by choosing their own fruit ingredients or put their own sprinkles on their healthy oatmeal bars. Here is my favorite recipe for my Oatmeal bar that I sprinkle sprinkles on for the boys.  They love the dinosaur sprinkles.  Find out what excites your kiddo and include that in a healthy food you are wanting them to try.

3. Have healthy snacks available

As parents, we can encourage and prepare healthy food for our kiddos.  Snacking is one key way to help get good nutrition into their bodies especially as they are growing so quickly. 

A good tip for creating healthy snacks is to have a combo of different food groups.  For example, lean meats, dairy, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  In addition, you’re going to get more nutrition if you combine 2 different macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat).  Here is more info from fit-flavors RD on healthy snacking.

Here are some healthy snack examples:

  • A medium-sized baked potato sprinkled with 2 Tbsp. shredded cheese
  • 4-6oz Greek yogurt, ½ cup fruit & 1Tbsp granola
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread (Dave’s Killer Bread) with 1Tbsp nut butter
  • Pita bread (1 small) cut into wedges baked with olive oil, served with 2 Tbsp. hummus
  • One cup of cereal with ½ cup low-fat milk (chopped fruit on top optional)
  • Quick quesadilla: spread 1 medium-size tortilla with 2-3 Tbsp. of shredded cheese and microwave for 45 seconds.
  • 1/2 avocado spread on whole-grain crackers or Corn chips and guacamole
  • 1/3 cup cooked old fashioned rolled oats with 1Tbsp seeds or 1/4 cup of fruit
  • 1/3 cup homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • 15 grapes and a cheese stick
  • Mini pizza bagel bites (toast mini bagels with low sodium tomato sauce and 2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese) top with dried oregano and basil
  • Grilled chicken strips and Ranch
  • Broccoli and Greek yogurt ranch dipping sauce. (I buy the ranch seasoning and mix 2% Greek yogurt and light sour cream together)

Jillian Tedesco is a mother, wife, chef, and Founder & CEO of St. Louis-based Fit-Flavors healthy meals to go.


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