Healthy food, happy kids
healthy; food; variety; happy; meal; mealtimes;
Children need a wide variety of good food to stay healthy. Children can learn to enjoy healthy food through good food experiences. There are many things you can do to help keep your children healthy and happy when it comes to eating.
Why do children need healthy food?
- To grow and develop well.
- For strong bones and healthy teeth.
- For energy to learn and play.
- To prevent health problems like constipation and tooth decay.
What can I do to help my child enjoy healthy food and mealtimes?
- Sit down together as a family and show your children how to enjoy healthy foods.
- Talk about and try different shapes and colours of food. Some examples:
- try circle slices like cucumber or banana
- try square foods like cubes of cheese and squares of bread
- try green foods like broccoli and grapes
- try red foods like capsicum and strawberries
Encourage your children to 'eat a rainbow' of colours of foods.
Try new foods and recipes each week
- set aside a day of the week to try a new recipe - you might try foods from different cultures, eg Mexican taco night or Indian curry night
- did you know it can take 10 or more times of trying before a child will accept a new food! Be patient but not pushy.
Make food FUN!
- look at picture books about food with your children
- let children help in the kitchen - eg. setting the table, mixing ingredients in a bowl, unpacking the shopping. Choose safe activities and always watch young children in the kitchen
- play guessing games about food - eg. "I'm thinking of a food starting with…." Describe the colour and texture until someone guesses right
- take children shopping and let them choose some new healthy foods
- make smiley faces with food eg a pancake with kiwi fruit for eyes, half a grape for a nose and rockmelon for a mouth makes a great smiley face
- try growing food at home, in a vegetable garden or in pots next to a window. Some easy things to grow are herbs, peas and carrots. Children will enjoy picking them for the meal.
These tips can help your child to grow up to enjoy a wide range of healthy foods. Try some today!
For more information
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Healthy food, happy kids (343kb)
- For other good resources about nutrition for children under 5 click here
- For more tips on how to get 2&5 into your day, visit www.gofor2and5.com.au
The content of this topic was produced by:
Nutrition and Food Services,
Women's and Children's Hospital,
Women's and Children's Health Network,
Department of Health, South Australia.
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.