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The ABC's of Teaching Nutrition to Your Kids

A is for Accessibility

Nutritip: You control the food that comes into the house. Make sure the good food you want your children to appreciate is child accessible.

The saying, "caught, not taught" certainly applies to teaching nutrition to kids. More powerful than any amount of talking about nutrition is the example you set in your home. Give new meaning to "fast foods." Make nutritious foods readily available for your children. Plan to have fresh foods within easy reach, so that when they're hungry and foraging for something to eat, it's easy for them to help themselves! If you want to control the serving size, consider pre-packaging healthy snacks in plastic sandwich bags. Ideas for accessible snacks:

  • A raw vegetable tray kept in the refrigerator at children's eye level
  • A tempting assortment of fresh fruits washed and ready to eat in a fruit bowl - or cut up in bite-size pieces in the refrigerator, ready to eat.
  • A special place in your cupboard or pantry for "kid's snack attacks." It may include popcorn, whole-grain crackers, bread sticks, rice cakes or raisins.
  • A pre-mixed snack that includes a variety of cereals, pretzels, and dried fruit. And, have fun keeping the best foods, not only available, but accessible!

A is for Also for Ambiance

Nutritip: Create a positive environment for eating at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table!

Create a pleasant, supportive and unhurried environment in which your children can enjoy healthy foods. Meal and snack times should be happy times. If there is enjoyable, light conversation and relaxing background music playing, it is more likely that appetites and dispositions will be good. To lighten moods and facilitate pleasant conversation, ask each family member to share one positive thing that happened that day. Appetites are likely to be poor if parents are impatient with children's behavior, if mealtime is a platform for discipline or criticism, or the T.V. is on. So, set the stage! Create the mood - and set your kids up to enjoy their meal times. And by all means, enlist their help!

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