Getting Kids to Eat Right

Older kids can be famished when they get home from school. So stock up on fixings for quick-to-make snacks like fruit, bagels, bread, tortillas, cheese, peanut butter and raw veggies.

Put non-perishable snack foods in your child's backpack if he or she has sports or other activities immediately after school. Here are some ideas to get you started: fig bars, a cereal bar, trail mix, fresh or dried fruit, cut-up vegetables, a peanut butter sandwich or a juice or milk box.

Present foods for kids in an eye-appealing fashion. For example, cut sandwiches with cookie cutters or make a smiley face with raisins in their bowl of oatmeal.

Involve your child in the food preparation process, from "helping" pick out groceries at the store to sprinkling cheese on the tacos. Getting your young ones involved in the kitchen will often make them feel part of the process and more likely to enjoy the family meal.

When packing lunches for kids, include them in the planning stage. Each month ask them for their 5 favourite sandwiches. Then get them to name 5 favourite fruits and raw veggies they'll eat. Letting your child make these choices may help ensure your child will eat it.

When introducing foods to toddlers for the first time, offer new foods in "try me" portions at first, then let your child ask for more.

Stress the importance of variety in your child's diet. There are over 40 different nutrients your child needs!

By eating and drinking calcium-rich foods and beverages, kids can build their "bone banks" to store calcium and help keep bones strong for years to come.

Did you know that on average kids get about 20% to 25% of their daily calories from snacks? Make a point of offering fruits, fortified cereal bars, cereal with milk, vegetables with dip and other nutrient-rich foods.

Snack attacks are normal for kids, who need lots of energy from food to keep them going all day long. To get rid of hunger and give your kid great nutrients, offer a piece of fresh fruit, a carton of yogurt or an English muffin pizza.

After school snack idea: how about some cut up apples with some peanut butter for dipping?

Mix up a batch of your kid's favourite Jell-O with fresh strawberries and bananas, and have that waiting for them after school to help stave off the munchies before dinner.

Add some dried fruit to cereal for a change of pace breakfast or an easy snack.

Kids love smoothies! Simply blend real fruit and yogurt.

Your child should drink water or other fluids throughout the day, but especially during and after periods of physical activity. Children need about 1 cup for every half-hour of activity.

Use snack time to fill in food groups not eaten at mealtime. For example, if your child didn't drink milk at lunch, serve yogurt or cheese for a snack.

Kids not eating their vegetables? Try mixing in vegetables, such as cut-up broccoli or carrots into their Kraft Dinner Macaroni & Cheese.

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