Gearing Up for Kindergarten


girl with paint on handsfather and daughterfour kids

| Share

How & Why Teach your Children to Eat Healthy

According to Ellyn Satter author of “How to Get Your Kids to Eat…But Not Too Much” you are the caregiver and need to provide the right amounts and kinds of nutrients to your child. These include vitamins, minerals (calcium), and protein. The amounts vary with age.  You also need to understand if you child is not well nourished, they will be tired, unattentive, and less curious.

Children Eating


Gearing Up for Kindergarten supports the research, which states that eating patterns and attitudes are developed early in the life spam from birth up. These patterns will affect the child’s health. In addition, your child will determine their view of the world by what foods are  or are not available to them.

Think about a food you want when you don’t feel well. What about a food you think is totally disguising and would never eat. Now think about kids, their background and their comfort foods. (ex; mac-n-cheese; chips)


Kids need to see/try new items an average of 7-9 times. It may simply lay on the plate the first couple of times, then they might pick it up and look at it, then they may put it in their mouth.  So when introducing a new food don’t think they will automatically try it and like it. Protect your child from choking, - grapes, hotdogs, peanuts are very dangerous as they can get stuck in their throat. Cut these items lengthwise


Children go through growth stages and sometimes they are more hungry then other times. A word of caution, don’t become a “short-order cook”. If they don’t eat when you are serving the meal, determine if they don’t like the food and know if they don’t eat it, they will get what they want later. Options are: putting the food in the fridge to serve later, bread, cereal.

Meal time should be a time when there is no tv, arguing, etc.. It should be a time to have a discussion with the family

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 1/3 of your calories for the day should be at this meal. Breakfast should contain 3-5 of the food groups. A good breakfast is cereal with milk and juice or banana not a danish. Individuals are have more energy, concentrate better and more productive when breakfast is eaten.


Gearing Up for Kindergarten strongly encourages parents to use MyPlate, a personalized food guide is designed to help you make healthy eating choices. By visiting the web site you can have your own personalized plan.  The colors on the plate represent different food groups. Orange is for grains, green is vegetables, red is fruit, yellow is fats/oils, blue is dairy and purple is meats. There is different recommendations for all ages.


Let children help – they can learn to stir foods, set the table. Who cares if the spoon is not exactly in the right place. Kids are more likely to eat if they help. It can be messy but kids need to learn to feed themselves. This helps with developing motor skills.

Allow time to eat. It takes 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to communicate.

Let your child know that you will not be a “short order” cook. They will eat what is served or have a choice of cereal or bread or they can eat their meal at a later time. If you “give” in to letting them not eat and then ½ hour later you are cooking what they want –


Remember, kids role model. If you won’t eat something, they most likely won’t either. So it is important to set a good example. 


For more information on Why Kids Eat What they Eat contact the USDA today!

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.