You might love whole grains and leafy greens, but getting your kids to show the same enthusiasm toward a healthy diet can be tricky. To encourage a well-balanced diet in kids, here are three healthy eating activities for preschoolers.
Encouraging healthy eating for preschoolers
Getting your preschooler to eat a healthy meal is all about making it fun. Try these tips below to make healthy food exciting.
1. Play with shapes
A healthy sandwich is much more fun to eat if it’s in the shape of your child’s favorite animal, an airplane, or even a simple heart! Sliced fruit like watermelon can also be easily cut into entertaining shapes like stars. Any cookie cutter will do the trick!
2. Make it finger-food friendly
Your child might not be a fan of eating their whole dinner, but perhaps they always devour their snacks. While snacks are fun (we love them, too), they don’t have the complete nutrition a balanced meal does. Trick your kids into eating their lunch by cutting up their sandwich into snack-size pieces and choosing fruits and veggies that are also cut into small pieces, rather than a whole fruit. Breaking down their meal into bite-sized options makes it seem less intimidating and promotes portion control. Finger foods make a meal appear like snacking, allowing you to sneak in all the nutrients that they need.
3. Bento Box-it-Up
A bento box, a Japanese single-portion box, is perfect for school lunch. Bento boxes are made of small, separated compartments that are ideal for small fingers. They provide the perfect opportunity for variety in the meal while keeping portion sizes healthy. Try offering a variety of flavors and textures such as boiled eggs, sliced grapes, berries, cubed chicken breast, bite-sized sandwiches, and more. You can find bento boxes online for your child and for yourself!
4. Make mealtime fun
It may be hard to get your toddler or preschooler to sit down for a full meal, but if you make it fun, they’re more likely to stick around! Ask your little ones to demonstrate how a dinosaur would eat something on their plate or give them unique utensils, such as a straw, to try and eat with. The goal is to make mealtime fun instead of a fight.
Healthy eating for preschoolers and toddlers is important
If getting your child to eat healthy is like pulling teeth, don’t be discouraged. You’re setting them up for a healthier lifestyle in the future every time you offer nutritious foods now.
For more tooth-friendly food ideas check out “Best Farmers Market Finds for Your Teeth.”
*Updated August 2023