National Nutrition Month: Six Food Tips to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy


Written by Amy Christopher, Arizona College of Nursing faculty.

March is National Nutrition Month and a reminder of the importance of healthy eating. One in five children is affected by obesity in the United States, demonstrating the importance of establishing healthy eating habits early.

However, as any parent knows, one of life’s most challenging tasks is getting children to eat healthy foods and live a healthy lifestyle. The following are six ideas to make this seemingly impossible job easier on them and you!

1. Start early.
If you decide to change how they eat when they are ten years old, you will likely encounter some resistance. This is not to say that it can’t be done; more difficult things have been accomplished. That battle is worth fighting, however. It is much easier to start from the beginning and keep going in that direction.

2. Lead by example.
As a parent, children look to you as an example of what to do. If you are eating a certain way, so will your child. If you think your child will not notice you hiding all the treats and eating them late at night, you are in for a surprise!

3. Have fun together!
Activity has many benefits for everyone, including encouraging healthy eating. But being active does not need to be drudgery. It can be fun and adventurous! Take the time to plan activities with your children. Playing together can positively impact your health and that of your children.

4. Let your kids help plan meals.
Children may not always want to eat what is offered, but they are likelier to try it out when they select the foods. Take them to the store to go shopping with you. Let them help you prepare the meal. These activities may help them appreciate it more!

5. Choose a variety of options and colors.
Vary your meal routines to keep it interesting. Choosing a variety of colors with your fruits and vegetables also offers more vitamins and mineral options to keep things well-rounded. Children often like bright colors and will try the foods based on that condition.

6. Please don’t be too hard on yourself or them.
Children just want macaroni and cheese sometimes, and that’s okay. Some days, you need to do what is best for your mental health. Try throwing in a side of strawberries and feel good about your efforts. Maybe you can all play at the park together after dinner? You’re doing a great job!

super foods We all want our children to have a long and healthy life. Childhood is a critical time for establishing healthy habits. Kids exposed to nutritious foods early in life are more likely to make healthy choices as adults. Investing the time and energy into your child’s health will build the foundation of well-being and overall health with lasting effects!

Amy Christopher is a faculty member at Arizona College of Nursing teaching Med/Surg nursing. Amy has been a nurse since 2009 and has worked in women’s services, with newborns, in drug research, and as an ICU nurse. She loves nursing and the feeling of being able to give something back to the profession she loves. Among her favorite pastimes are camping, hiking, lifting weights, boxing, biking, and racing cars with her husband.