Healthy Children - January 2019

Making Family Mealtimes Fun

Sitting down together for a meal whenever you can is a great way to connect with your family. Keeping it relaxed is key to making sure you are getting the most out of this time together, including talking, laughing and choosing healthy foods. Here are some tips from families for making meals more relaxed in your home:

  • Remove distractions. Turn off the television and put away phones and tablets, so that your attention is on each other.
  • Talk to each other. Focus conversation on what family members did during the day, for example, what made you laugh or what you did for fun. Other conversation starters include:
    • Give each family member the spotlight to share his or her highlight, lowlight, and “funnylight” from the day or week.
    • If our family lived in a zoo, what animals would we be and why?
    • If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
    • If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food to eat, what would it be and why?
  • Pass on traditions. Tell children about the “good old days” such as foods grandma made that you loved to eat.
  • Let kids make choices. Set a healthy table and let everyone, including the kids, make choices about what they want and how much to eat.
  • Let everyone help. Kids learn by doing. The little one might get the napkins and older kids help with fixing foods and cleanup.
  • Make-your-own-dish. Like tacos, mini pizzas, and yogurt parfaits and get everyone involved at mealtime.
  • MyPlate Printable Activities and Coloring Sheets. Print these activity sheets for kids to learn more about healthy eating, including a coloring page, word scramble, crossword puzzle and more.
  • Blast off game. In this online game, kids must fuel up their MyPlate spaceship with smart food choices and physical activity to fly to Planet Power.

Tweens and Teens

  • Kid’s Restaurant. Let the kids be the chef. Kids get to plan out the meal, design a menu for you, and prepare the dish.
  • MyPlate Plan. Enter your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level to get a personalized food plan showing what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance.
  • Grow a Garden. Get tweens and teens involved in family meals and gardening. You can start small, with a window herb box in your kitchen or a garden in your yard.
  • Learn Where your Food Comes From. Helping kids learn about the source of their food and the people who produce it may motivate them to make healthy choices. Attend a local farmer’s market or farm stand as a family and gather ingredients for a meal to cook together. Find a market near you!
  • Tip Sheets for Teens. Young people experience many changes during their tween and teen years. Building healthy food and physical activity habits will help them now and as they enter adulthood. These tips can help them take charge and learn to make their own choices.
    • 10 Tips for Girls: Eat smart and be active as you grow
    • 10 Tips for Boys: Choose the foods you need to grow