Healthy Eating Habits for Your Child

Smarter Snacking

Snacks add much-needed nutrition every day. Here's what to offer:

  • Fruits (fresh or canned fruits packed in their own juice, make-your-own frozen treats with unsweetened fruit juice, frozen sliced fruit such as bananas)
  • Vegetables (raw fresh salsa, vegetable juice)
  • Protein (peanut butter, chili bean dip, hard-cooked eggs, tuna and chicken salad)
  • Milk (yogurt with active cultures, cheese, pudding, ice cream, yogurt)
  • Bread and cereals (tortillas, popcorn, pretzels, crackers, vegetable thins)
  • Cookies (oatmeal, peanut butter, Fig Newtons, gingersnaps)
  • Snacking tips:
  • Limit juice to four to six ounces or less per 24 hours (may dilute with water).
  • Choose juice fortified with calcium.
  • Avoid sports drinks (they add unneeded sugar and electrolytes).
  • Avoid products with added sugar and caffeine.
  • Use presweetened cereal as dessert for lunch rather than cookies or candy.


Sweet Ways to Cut Sugar


  • In recipes, use 2/3 to 3⁄4 of the sugar recommended.
  • Add pureed fruit to add natural sweetness.
  • Use fruit, nutmeg or cinnamon when serving pancakes or waffles.
  • Choose canned fruit packed in its own juice.
  • Purchase only 100 percent juice and dilute, if you wish, with water.
  • Mix unsweetened cereal with sweetened cereal.
  • Add raisins or other dried fruits instead of chocolate chips when baking.
  • Use low-fat cream cheese instead of jelly or jam.


The Big Switch

When your child turns her nose up at vegetables, offer fruit instead.

Source of: Rejected: Substitute:

Vitamin A Broccoli Cantaloupe
Spinach Nectarines
Carrots Peaches
Vitamin E Peas Plums, oranges
Peppers Grapefrui
Cauliflower Strawberries
Potassium Potatoes Bananas, kiwis
Squash Cherries


Children Like...


  • Mildly flavored
  • Slightly cooked
  • Crunchy
  • Bright colors (add food coloring)
  • Easy to eat
  • Warm vs. hot
  • Small portions
  • Dipping sauces (cheese, yogurt, salsa, fruit, soy sauce, ranch dressing)
  • And they usually don't like lumps!


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