Almost one-third of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. Whether you have a toddler or a teen, it’s never too late to help your kids make healthy eating choices.
How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy
Here are five strategies to improve nutrition:
- Have regular family meals.
- Stock up on healthy snacks.
- Avoid food battles by giving kids a choice of healthy foods and allowing them to monitor their intake, within reason.
- Involve kids in the cooking process when time allows.
- Be a role model by eating healthy yourself.
Putting the Right Foods on Your Child's Plate
Here are some easy tips to achieve healthy eating habits during meals or afternoon snacks:
- Half of your child’s plate should consist of fruits and vegetables.
- Kids should drink water instead of sugary drinks like juice and soda.
- Serve fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk after age 2.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Make sure your kids get at least half of their grains from whole grains.
MyPlate: New National Dietary Guidelines
The USDA Food Guide Pyramid, a guide on healthy eating, has not always been easy to understand. So the U.S. government has replaced the pyramid with a new symbol: a plate.
MyPlate is designed as an easy guide to teach portion sizes for children and create a nutritious, balanced meal.
- half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables
- the other half should be ¼ protein and ¼ whole grain
Healthy Eating for Kids Resources
See a variety of printouts and links to more resources to help you and your child make healthy eating choice every day.
Healthy For Life: A Guide for Families
Developed by Nemours Health and Prevention Services, learn what actions to take based on your child's BMI, and also find community resources for physical activities, healthy foods, and nutrition counseling.
More from NHPS
- Eating Healthy on a Budget: A Guide for Families (PDF): designed to assist you in meal planning, grocery shopping, eating out, and setting healthy goals
Get answers and help on preparing meals and snacks, shopping, and more from KidsHealth.org, the #1 most-visited children’s health information site created by the experts at Nemours.
- Let’s Move!: tools, support, and information initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama to help form healthy habits in children
- Team Nutrition: a comprehensive plan from the USDA to promote the nutritional health of children, involving schools, parents, and the community
- We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition): information and resources to help children stay at a healthy weight
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income women, infants, and children
Handouts & Resources
If you're looking for more tools and resources to help you encourage healthy habits at home with your kids, check out our handouts and resources section just for families.
View All Resources for Families »