How to Help Your Child Make Healthy Food Choices


Healthy eating creates healthy children

  • Healthy eating is important for strong bones, teeth, muscles and a healthy heart.
  • Helping your child make healthy food choices can help them maintain a healthy weight and stay healthy throughout their lives.
  • Children who have a healthy diet perform better in school.
  • Research shows that children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they take part in regular meals.

Eat together as a family

  • Introduce new foods to your child.
  • Discuss what foods your child likes, doesn’t like and why.
  • Notice if your child is not eating a variety of foods and brainstorm ideas for how to increase the choices.
  • Turn off the TV and other electronics and talk during meal time.
  • Talk to your child about the variety of healthy foods you are eating.

Make grocery shopping and preparing meals a family activity

  • Talk to your child about food options he can help you make.
  • Talk to your child about nutrition labels while shopping and make him aware of what each part of the label means.
  • Think about how everyone in the family can be involved in creating family meals. Planning meals, making a salad, chopping vegetables, stirring the pot, setting the table, and cleaning the dishes are all possible contributions.

Stock up on healthier foods

  • Have fruits and vegetables available.
  • Limit fast food intake to an occasional treat.
  • Choose 100% juice, low fat milk, and water as healthier drink choices.
  • Plant a small garden with your child and have her prepare food from it.

Be a role model

  • Limit your portion sizes.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables and encourage your children to do so.
  • Try to keep a positive approach to healthier food options.

Make food fun!

  • Think of fun ways to present the food, for example create faces on the plates with fruits or vegetables or making smoothies.
  • Attend the local farmers’ market and have your children sample new fruits and vegetables.
  • Search the internet for healthy recipes.
  • Contact community organizations, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, that have activities for families and children to learn about healthy choices.
  • Attend workshops that provide information on how to get your child to try new foods.


Amanda Rae Root, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County