100 Ways to Make Nutrition Fun for Kids

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Let’s face it; if kids were left to their own devices they’d probably choose sweets and junk food to eat instead of salads and lean proteins. There is a trick to getting your kids reaching for healthy foods instead of candy, though. You just have to make nutrition FUN! You’ll find all sorts of ways to make healthy eating enjoyable for your kids by reading the tips offered on these 100 sites.

Get Them Cooking

Don’t shoo your kids out of the kitchen when it comes time to prepare meals; instead, get them in on the action! Not only will you be teaching them the invaluable lesson of how to cook, but they’re also much more likely to eat a meal when they’ve had a hand in preparing it. Read these 20 blogs for tips on how to get your kids cooking.

  • Coconut Fish with Quinoa. The healthy fats from fish paired with the protein in quinoa make this recipe from Children’s Aid Society a nutritional powerhouse.
  • Blueberry Oatmeal Squares. Kids Health shares this healthy recipe – nutrition facts included – that kids are sure to love.
  • Keep them safe while cooking. The California Department of Education encourages parents to teach kids how to cook safely.
  • Tips to get the kids cooking. Cooking Light writer Ann Pittman explains her tactics for getting her kids more interested in cooking.
  • Tasty Chicken and Veggie Packets. Get the kids in the kitchen by making this simple dish from the United States Department of Agriculture for dinner.
  • Crockpot Chicken Tacos. The kids will love this simple recipe from Super Healthy Kids.
  • Ask your kids to wash the vegetables. It sounds like a simple task, but there’s a lot kids can learn from washing vegetables before cooking with them, says Bon Appétit.
  • Rules to share with kids about cooking. PBS lists several rules you should consider when cooking with kids.
  • Give kids choices when they are cooking. Epicurious explains how including your child when planning a meal lets him feel like he’s in control and that you value his opinion.
  • Take your time. BBC Good Food recommends allowing more time for meal prep when cooking with kids.
  • Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes. 100 Days of Real Food offers up some tasty recipes that your kids can make, such as these healthy pancakes.
  • Irene’s Winter Salad. This is not your typical salad; the kids can learn about winter vegetables when they make this simple dish from Kitchen Daily.
  • Remember to praise your kids in the kitchen. Food Network urges you to praise your child’s efforts in the kitchen so he will want to come back and do it again.
  • Gather all of the ingredients before you get started. Cool Kids Cooking suggests assembling all of a recipe’s ingredients before beginning to prepare the meal.
  • Chinese “Barbequed” Pork. Get the kids to try something new with this tasty pork recipe from Cooking with Kids.
  • Pepperoni Bread. Kids love dips and love pizza, so this simple recipe for Pepperoni Bread from Spoonful should be a slam dunk.
  • Pineapple-Mango Salmon. If you’re trying to get the kids to eat a more diverse diet, give this tasty seafood recipe by Parenting a try.
  • Super Heroes. Martha Stewart explains how the kids can build their own hero sandwich using healthy ingredients.
  • Fresh Veggie Pizza. Even the youngest kids can help make these simple, healthy pizzas by Children’s Recipe.
  • Creamy Smoke Salmon Pasta. Since kids tend to love pasta, they may be more open to trying salmon with this dish, says Kidspot.

Refrigerator Charts

Using charts to track good nutrition habits can incentivize your kids to make healthy choices so that healthy eating is more fun. Use these 20 blog articles for ideas on creating your own kids nutrition chart.

  • Eat a Rainbow Chart. Today I Ate a Rainbow created this chart that you can make or buy to encourage kids to eat foods of every color daily.
  • Kids Nutrition Chart Printable. Polish the Stars shares the chart she devised to keep track of the foods her son is eating.
  • Portion Size Chart. Nick Jr. has printable charts that explain how many portions of each food group a child should have based on their age.
  • Color Your World. Your Personal Nutrition Guide has a printable chart that your child can color like the rainbow. As your child eats something from the rainbow you can add a star to the chart.
  • Good Kids Bad Habits. Share Care offers a printable chart that will help you determine how many serving sizes kids should eat of a given food group each week.
  • Nutrition Chart. Fight and Fit shares a bright, colorful, downloadable nutrition chart that that is sure to catch the eye of your kids.
  • Healthy Eating Plate. Hang this printable chart from Harvard Medical School on your fridge to show kids what their plate should look like.
  • My Food Guide Servings Tracker. Health Canada has created a simple, printable tracker you can put on the fridge that details the nutritional requirements your child needs based on his age.
  • Snack Chart. Use this chart from I Have No Greater Joy to help your child track his snack choices.
  • Meal Planner. You can download blank meal planner charts at Super Healthy Kids so your kids can help you plan meals.
  • Picky Eater Punch Card. Small Types shares printable punch cards you can use to keep track of the different foods your child eats.
  • I Ate My 5 Food Groups. Free Printable Behavior Charts has several different charts you can download depending on what you want to track; this chart tracks the different food groups your kids eat.
  • Toddler Feeding Chart. Web MD has created a chart to help you track the foods and quantities your child is eating throughout the day.
  • 5 or More a Day! The Train to Crazy shares a chart where kids can track how many fruits and veggies they are eating in a day.
  • Weekly School Lunch Planner. If you’re having trouble getting your kids to eat the things you send for lunch, try including your kids in the lunch planning process by using this planner from School Family.
  • Fruits and Vegetables List. Teacher Vision provides a printable chart kids can look at to know what kinds of fruits and vegetables they should be eating.
  • My Food Guide. Healthy Canadians provides a printable chart that details the proper servings and examples of the types of food you should eat.
  • Tracking My Servings from Each Food Group. This simple sheet from Healthlink BC can be laminated so you can use it every day to track what your kids are eating.
  • Fruit and Veggie Eater Meter. Peas and Crayons recommends using this colorful chart so kids can track what they are eating.
  • Create Your Own. Use Kiddy Charts to create your own nutrition tracking chart

Learning to Garden

A study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that kids who helped grow their own food were more likely to have healthy diets overall, which is one of many reasons gardening is a great activity for your kids. To get your kids started gardening, read these 20 posts.

  • Start by growing seeds inside. Kids Gardening explains how to grow seeds in a way that kids can understand.
  • Check out the tools your kids may need to start gardening. Wikihow shows step-by-step pictures of what your kids need to get started in the garden.
  • Make a sun chart. Urban Next recommends tracking the sun after you decide where to plant your garden.
  • Decide what to plant. Earth Easy details a list of 10 items kids can grow.
  • Plant a pizza garden. Better Homes and Gardens suggests planting items that can be used to make a pizza.
  • Recycle your trash into a garden. USA Extension explains how to garden with seeds discarded from the food you eat.
  • Plant a letter. TLC How Stuff Works shows how to plant flowers in the shape of a letter.
  • Plant a tree. Dave’s Garden tells you how to plant trees and create Mother’s Day planters.
  • Make a 4×4 raised bed. Green Education Foundation has a video that you can watch with your child on how to build a small raised garden.
  • Teach kids how rewarding gardening can be. Realtor urges parents to let the kids help in the garden to foster a love of gardening.
  • Plant a butterfly garden. Gardening Know How explains what you need to do to plant a butterfly garden.
  • Kids who grow veggies in the garden are more likely to eat them. Preschoolers says that having a garden can encourage the whole family to eat more vegetables.
  • Gardening teaches kids to work as a team and accomplish a goal. Pediatrics in Paradise talks about how gardening can be fun for kids.
  • Gardens inspire kids to try healthy foods. First Lady Michelle Obama started a kitchen garden at the White House and invites school aged kids to help tend it. According to Health Day, she believes kids are more excited to try healthy foods when they have a hand in growing them.
  • Start with fast growing plants. Kids don’t have a lot of patience, so AZ Center recommends planting fast growing plants so that they stay interested.
  • Give your child their own patch of the garden. Giving your child his own patch of the garden instills a sense of ownership, which may make him more likely to keep up with “his” garden, advises Teach Beside Me.
  • Put your seeds in the window. Mom it Forward describes how to grow seeds using a starting tray or small paper cup and a window sill.
  • You can garden during the winter. You can start planting summer plants with your kids indoors during the winter so they can watch them grow until they need to be moved outside, says Keeper of the Home.
  • Winter sowing is another way to get a jump start on the gardening season. Garden Web explains how she uses recycled containers and a sunny spot to sow her seeds during the winter.
  • Remind kids to only eat foods from safe plants. Rolling Green Nursery encourages parents to explain that some foods found in nature are not safe to eat.

Go to a Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets are a great way to get kids interested in fresh, local produce and foods. Visit a local farmer’s market and make nutrition fun with the help of these 20 posts.

  • Connect kids with “real food”. Eat Local Grown insists on taking kids to the farmer’s market so they can understand which foods come from the ground.
  • Kids can often sample new foods at a farmer’s market. Nutrition describes the farmer’s market as a place where kids can explore and try new foods.
  • Ask farmers for recipes. USDA says that farmers love to share their secrets on how to fix certain fruits and veggies, so be sure to ask for preparation tips when you visit.
  • Buy produce that is in season. According to Super Kids Nutrition, the farmer’s market is more likely to carry seasonal produce that tastes better than store-bought produce.
  • Produce from the farmer’s market is safer to eat. Typically, food from a farmer has not been sitting in a warehouse or shipped from another country, making it safer to eat, explains Texas Farmer’s Market.
  • Try a scavenger hunt at the farmer’s market. Greenport Farmer’s Market suggests creating a list of items that your child needs to find at the market to encourage them to try new foods.
  • Plan a trip to a farm. Live Better America recommends asking farmers at the market for a tour of the farm.
  • Check your market for a Kids’ Day. Boston shares that their farmer’s market includes all sorts of fun things for kids.
  • Assign a color of the week before you go to the market. Examiner advises assigning a new color each week and picking a new food in that color to try with the kids.
  • Show kids how to pick out the best produce. Southern Living points out that taking the kids to the farmer’s market is a good way to encourage healthy eating.
  • Educating kids can help fight childhood obesity. Elm says they take a field trip with kids to the market to let them buy fruits and veggies and ask the farmers questions.
  • Help the local economy. While kids are learning to eat healthier they can also learn to help farmers by buying from them, suggests Free Fun in Austin.
  • Beat the boredom blues by taking your kids to the farmer’s market. Mom’s Choice Matters shares how to find farmers’ markets all over the country and gives tips for what to bring along.
  • Talk to your child about organic foods. Toby Amidor Nutrition urges parents to take their kids to the farmer’s market to learn how to grow vegetables without a bunch of harmful chemicals.
  • Teach young children the names of all the produce. Learning the names of things from a book is one thing, but being able to smell and touch the item makes it real for the child, explains Dr. Greene.
  • Let the kids buy their own food. Waking Times encourages parents to give their kids $10 and let them buy the healthy foods they want to build a healthier eating habit.
  • Find a canning demonstration. Art and Seek suggests checking out a canning demonstration at your local farmer’s market.
  • Challenge each child to find the most unusual food. Reward the winner, says Sun Post, by finding something yummy at the market.
  • Plan a meal with just food you buy at the farmer’s market. Wee Eat Rainbows suggests planning an entire meal around food bought from the market.
  • Know when to shop. Healthy Child recommends visiting the market when it opens if you want the largest produce selection and going near closing time if you want to negotiate prices.

Play Games

Another way you can make nutrition fun is to play educational games with your kids. Take a look at these 20 different games that encourage healthy eating and good nutritional choices.

  • Nutrition Quiz. NeoK12 has a bunch of different quiz games on health and nutrition you can use to educate kids in a fun way.
  • Amazing Food Detective. Kaiser Permanente hosts this game where kids are given a storyline and they have to figure out what happened.
  • Food Quiz. Science Kids has come up with a trivia game to share food facts with kids in a way that makes it fun instead of boring.
  • Dining Decisions. The CDC has created several games kids can play to learn about staying healthy, including this one about making the best food choices at the school cafeteria.
  • Bone Up on Milk. The Dairy Council of California came up with a quiz to test kids’ milk knowledge.
  • Bon Appétit Arcade Game. Get kids to make as many balanced meals as possible before the time runs out at Nourish Interactive.
  • Smash Your Food. Figure out how much salt, sugar and oil are in each food before you smash it on this game from Food’N Me.
  • Hay Now Quiz Show. Kids can try their hand at answering these barnyard questions from Farm Service Agency to see if they know where their food comes from.
  • Combo Kitchen. Try this game from Fuel Up to Play that encourages you to determine what is in different dishes so you can eat wisely.
  • Food Groups Game. Determine which food groups different foods belong to with this game from Sheppard’s Software.
  • A Healthy Lunchbox. You can put together healthy lunches on this game from Food a Fact of Life and then print out your ideas to use at home.
  • Food Fury. Playnormous created this game to determine if a food is a go, slow or whoa food.
  • Fruit and Veggie Matching Game. Food Champs has entertaining games for young children where they match the inside of the food to the outside.
  • Virtual Glasshouse. The Tomato Zone created this game about a greenhouse where players have to find the bad insects that damaged the food and then figure out what insects will take care of the bad ones.
  • Nutrition Sudoku. Instead of numbers, you’ll use vegetables to fill up the grid in this game from Eat Right.
  • Flip It! Zis Boom Bah created this card game that uses food pictures and fun food facts to work on kids’ memory skills.
  • Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt. SF Gate suggests deciding on a menu with your child, writing down the things that you need and then letting your child look for the items at the store.
  • Paired Food Items. New York State Department of Health suggests an entertaining game where you come up with pairs of foods that go together, like peanut butter and jelly, and then pin each ingredient on the back of students. They must figure out what ingredient they are and find their pair to win the game.
  • Crunch a Color. Crunch a Color explains this card game that encourages kids to be more adventurous with eating healthy, new foods.
  • Food Pyramid Race. In a food pyramid race, kids break into teams and race to put different foods into the correct food group. More details on the game can be found on Live Strong.
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