How to teach kids healthy eating habits

The kids are heading back to school and that means back to the notorious school cafeteria.  Unless you pack a lunch for your child every day, you may not be able to fully control what foods he or she eats.  That can be scary for some parents since school cafeterias have a bad reputation for serving greasy and sometimes unidentifiable foods.  So how do you make sure your child eats well at school?

The truth is, school lunch options are getting better, but unhealthy choices are still there.  So it’s up to kids to choose foods wisely in the lunch line.

To help kids choose wisely and eat healthy while at school, we as parents and educators must give them the tools and information they need.  Here’s what Botsford Hospital dietitian Gina DeAngelis recommends:

  1. Set a good example.  If you eat well, chances are so will your kids.
  2. Start early so good habits are harder to break.
  3. Use the MyPlate method to teach portion sizes and food groups.  Find information and resources at
  4. Set a weekly goal such as trying a new food or eliminating a junk food.
  5. Reward your child when he or she reaches a goal.  Rewards don’t have to be big or costly.  They could be a family activity, special time with mom or dad or a fun outing.
  6. When one goal is reached, set a new goal.
  7. Try tracking food on paper.  Write down the foods you and your child eat then talk about the choices at the end of the week.  Discuss why the choices were good or bad, and what could have been better choices.
  8. Look at your child’s lunch menu together ahead of time and make selections together.  As your child makes choices, talk about why they’re good or bad options.

To teach your kids how to choose healthy school lunches and after-school snacks, Botsford

Botsford dietitian Denise Cykiert shows kids how to prepare healthy after-school snacks at a recent workshop.

Hospital and Busch’s Fresh Food Market are teaming up to host a hands-on nutrition workshop.  Parents and kids age 8-13 are encouraged to join us for some fun with food!

Wednesday, August 28 2012, 11am to 12pm

Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Farmington, MI

More information:

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