Healthy Eating for Kids


Healthy Eating includes a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods and fluids. The goal is to nourish the body with the proper fuel so it can function at its best. It’s important to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, added sugars and sodium and instead choose more natural, whole food options that promote wellness and help manage a healthy weight. Regardless of your dietary preferences or lifestyle, there are many ways to eat healthily and feel great.

The guiding principles in Healthy Eating are:

Eat a variety of foods from the 5 major food groups.
Have healthy snacks between meals.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (3 or more servings a day).

Choose fiber-rich whole grains and limit refined (white) breads and pastas.

Have a variety of protein sources, such as seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and other legumes, unsalted nuts, seeds and soy products.

Drink a variety of low-fat milk, water and non-alcoholic beverages.

Include healthy fats like vegetable, nut and seed oils and limit (or avoid) foods and beverages that are high in saturated, trans fats and added sugars.

Be mindful of portion sizes.

Practice label reading and food/nutrient tracking.

Try to eat less salt (sodium) and more unsalted butter, olive oil and avocados.

Focus on the positive benefits of healthy eating and don’t get caught up in avoiding “bad” foods. It’s okay to have foods and drinks that are higher in fat, sugar and salt sometimes, but they should be consumed in smaller portions.

Make mealtimes fun and family time.

Encourage kids to explore new foods with flavors and textures they enjoy. Kids are naturally suspicious of new foods, so introducing them to a variety of flavors and textures early on helps develop their palate and prevents them from becoming picky eaters later in life.

Keep in mind that children are forming their preferred tastes and habits during the first five years of life, so be sure to expose them to a wide range of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and proteins to set them up for a lifetime of healthy choices.

Have your kids peel and assemble fruits, eat salads together, take turns shopping for groceries online or in-person, or help with meal prep, like washing and chopping vegetables. This teaches them the value of a well-balanced diet and can also encourage a love of cooking.

During mealtimes, turn off the TV and put away phones and tablets to encourage conversations and connection at the table. It’s also a good idea to skip using food as a reward or to show affection and instead, give your kids hugs, praise and attention. This can help them learn to cope with stress and anxiety in healthy ways, rather than with food. And, be sure to incorporate moderate to vigorous physical activity into your daily routine to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk for chronic diseases. The guidelines on this page apply to most healthy people, but if you have special dietary needs or conditions, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian for advice. Emnahrungskompass