• You're the gatekeeper who decides what foods come into your kitchen. Give kids a healthful variety of foods. Then, allow them to choose what to eat and how much from what you offer.
  • Eat meals with your kids as often as you can so they see you enjoying foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk.
  • Tune into hunger cues to halt "mindless eating." Teach kids to eat when they're hungry, not just because it's a habit, like snacking in front of the TV or taking a second helping just because "it's there."
  • Cancel your family membership in the clean plate club. Eat until you're satisfied, not overly full. Teach your kids to do the same instead of encouraging them to finish everything on their plates.
  • Keep snacks such as cut up veggies, fruit and whole-wheat crackers upfront in the fridge or cabinet so they're easy for kids to see and grab.
  • Make sure everyone eats breakfast (including you). Offer quick options such as wholegrain cereal, yogurt, pieces of fruit, low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice.
  • When it comes to snacks, don't deny kids their favorite treats, but also work together to create a list of "smart snacks" to stock up on. Post the list on the fridge or kitchen bulletin board and let kids pick from the list at snack time. Get started with the ideas below.


Snacking is smart when kids are hungry and need fuel to get through a long stretch between meals. Smart snacks give kids important nutrients, too. The snack suggestions below are nutritious and taste great.*

  • Cup or tube of low-fat fruit yogurt
  • Bowl of cereal (preferably whole grain)—hot or cold
  • Cheese stick
  • Handful of peanuts, almonds or trail mix
  • Frozen fruit bar
  • Any fresh fruit such as grapes, an apple, banana or orange
  • Any dried fruit such as raisins, apricots or cranberries
  • Easy-to-eat veggies such as celery sticks, cherry tomatoes,
  • baby carrots and cut-up green peppers
  • Graham crackers
  • Cereal bar or granola bar
  • Pudding cup
  • Fruit cup (in water or juice) or applesauce
  • Whole-wheat crackers smeared with peanut butter
  • Salsa and baked tortilla chips
  • Hummus (chickpea dip) and pita bread
  • Microwave popcorn (light)
  • Cold piece of roast chicken or slice of pizza

For more super snack ideas, visit recipe roundup.

* To decrease choking risk, keep the following foods from children until 4 years of age: Hot dogs, nuts and seeds, chunks of meat or cheese, whole grapes, hard, gooey, or sticky candy, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter, raw vegetables, raisins, and chewing gum.

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