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Simple Things You Can Do to Get Your Kids To Eat Better

My family’s incredible summer (beach days and theme parks and road trips, oh my!) often didn’t translate to very wholesome meals (take-out and eating out and desserts, oh no!). Now that we’re getting back to our routine, balancing healthy choices, busy schedules and the kids’ taste preferences would seem like an impossible feat if it wasn’t for tiny victories. 

Tiny Victories

Substituting with whole grains. Choosing organic fruit. Avoiding artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. These victories may not seem grand, but add them all up and you can change your child’s health. Here are some of my favorite tiny (read: manageable) victories that can help improve your child’s meals from morning to night, including snacks in between.

Rise & Shine

You got them out of bed and on their feet. Let’s see what we can do about giving them some good stuff to start their day. Here are three ideas they’ll eat up:

  1. Banana chocolate chip pancakes. Tiny victory: use whole wheat pancake mix.
  2. Green eggs and ham. Tiny victory: add finely chopped spinach whisked into eggs before scrambling.
  3. Peanut butter waffle sammie. Tiny victory: use a fresh fruit and peanut butter filling.

“Constructables”: A Lunch Plan

Color + protein + crunch + bonus  = winning meal plan. Choose one from each category and let them eat it their way at lunch!

Color

  • Apple slices
  • Orange segments
  • Grapes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell pepper slices

Protein

  • Nut or seed butter
  • Sliced ham or turkey
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Hummus

Crunch

  • Whole-grain chips or crackers
  • Celery sticks
  • Baby carrots
  • Popcorn
  • Cucumber slices

Bonus

  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit strip
  • String cheese

 

Snack Time Success

A tiny victory is a snack you can feel good about. These four favorites earn high-fives all around.

  1. (Air) popped rocks! Start with air-popped popcorn and toss with grated cheese or cinnamon sugar.
  2. Fruit dippers. Serve cut fruit with yogurt to dip.
  3. Open-face grahamwich. Spread nut or seed butter onto graham crackers and top with sliced bananas, apples or berries.
  4. Fancy ants on a log. Swap peanut butter and raisins for almond butter, pumpkin seeds and halved grapes.

Delicious Dinners

My three-year-old has her favorite dinners, and I haven’t had luck with introducing wholesome replacements. However by simply enhancing her favorites with veggies and whole grains (tiny victories!), she gets the flavors she wants and the nutrients she needs. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Polka dot mac. Mac & cheese + frozen peas.
  2. Chicka boom burritos. Whole wheat tortillas + shredded rotisserie chicken + baby spinach.
  3. Squashy sketti. Spaghetti squash + tomato sauce.
  4. Crouching carrot sly grilled cheese. Bread + cheese + carrot ribbons.

Make healthy eating a fun, monthly challenge with Whole Kids Foundation (WKF) and "Better Bites," a resource that focuses on one small change, like switching to whole grains, eating a rainbow and finding value in the bulk bins. Just follow the link, choose your monthly challenge and start your journey to better health with the whole family.

Hungry for more? Find kid-friendly tips, menu plans and tested recipes at wholefoodsmarket.com/kid-friendly.

Got your kid to eat something healthier? Share and celebrate your small wins! Add your tiny victory to our Facebook page by August 23rd and you could win a Whole Foods Market® gift card.

I’d love to hear more about your tiny victories in the comments below.