Healthy Kids Challenge and zulily Discuss Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

November 3, 2011

Healthy Kids Challenge registered trademarkHealthy Kids Challenge (HKC) Hi Zulily members and friends! Thanks for joining us for this hour of Healthy Me! I’m eager to visit with you about your questions and concernes for kids eating and activity needs! Our mission is to help families and other adults who influence your kids to eat healthy and move more!

zulily Thanks, Vickie! We’re excited to hear about the creative work you’re doing at Healthy Kids Challenge!

Jennifer I’m a health educator, and healthy eating can be a tough sell to young students. How do you get your students excited about eating healthy? How do you make that fun for kids?

HKC GREAT questions! First snacks – Can’t go wrong with fruits and veggies! I suggest snack time should be about half way between meals so it doesn’t interfer with being hungry for the next meal. Snacks are important for younger kids to meet nutrient needs. Try lowfat yogurt mixed with canned or fresh chopped fruit, or lowfat cheese and crackers, bit size! Get the little ones involved, let them help with making the choices AND, sit down and enjoy the snack together!

HKC Now, Jennifer, on to your tough sell with nutrition for students! First of all, role modeling is key. From parents to teachers, principals to school nutrition services staff, each adult in the lives of kids makes a difference. Let them see us eat healthy and be active! Next, engage the kids, make it fun and exciting! What makes them tick? Things like tasting, science experiments, getting to work together in teams, getting up and moving. HKC offers free tips and monthly action ideas on our website, check them out!

Lindsay My almost 3 year old gets up ready to play and not eat breakfast, any suggestions? Also, any healthy but fun snack ideas for 3 year olds?

HKC Now, to answer that question about getting up wanting to play instead of eat. Dietitian Ellen Satter has a great division of responsibility for feeding kids – The parent is responsible for what, when, and where foods are served, and the child is responsible for how much is eaten or whether food is eaten. Be consistent with when breakfast is served, let your toddler help pour the milk and cereal, or wash the fruit, then sit back and enjoy together!

Angie We don’t have a lot of money and often have trouble being able to afford healthy foods. What are some good ideas to help get healthy food for kids in families on a tight budget?

HKC Angie, budgets are tight for so many families these days, I understand your concern and your want to feed your kids healthy too! Plan and plan somemore is key! Look for store specials, use coupons, consider store brands, keep staples on hand such as dry pasta and dried beans, frozen and canned fruits and veggies, and I love to cook once, eat twice. I often purchase meats on sale, cook up a pot of chili or make double batch of lasagne and freeze for another day. Keeping things like sugared drinks and high fat, high sugar snacks as occasional foods only will help the pocket book too.

Learning ZoneXpress @Lindsay – maybe there are some fun healthy finger foods that would let your 3 year old eat and play. Fruits can be fun for breakfast!

HKC Our friends at Learning ZoneXpress are right, Lindsay! Toothpicking cubes of cheese and fruit bites is so much fun. Try pretzel sticks instead of toothpicks! Or, paint faces on toast with yogurt, cut and munch!

zulily Vickie, what are some common myths and misconceptions you’ve come across about kids and healthy eating habits, if any?

HKC Oh Zulily, glad you ask, there are plenty. Many think kids don’t need snacks, that snacking is bad when the opposite is true, kids really do need that between meal nourishment. It’s not the snack that is “bad”, it’s often the food choice or the portion size! We call it Snack Attack, you be in charge of the food choices and make it a healthy snack, mom and child together! I’m thinking dried fruit in a yogurt cup sprinkled with granola sounds pretty tasty here in a bit myself! Another myth is that kids don’t need milk or dairy beyond age 2. Those bones and teeth certainly need calcium all throughout the growing years! Low fat milk and dairy foods are key to a child’s healthy growth!

Lindsay What are fun activities to do at home to get us all moving as a family instead of just sitting in front of the TV together?

HKC Your youngsters will LOVE this idea to get up and move! Write down some simple activites on note cards, use different color note cards. The activities can be from some of your child’s favorite books……, things like fly like a bird, sway like a bear, etc. When it’s commercial or INSTEAD of watching more tv, play with your child the get up and move game! Have him/her call out a color, turn over a card that color and together do the fun activity! Trust me, your child will want to do this over and over and over, and heh, might even forget about that next tv show!

zulily We noticed that the Healthy Kids Challenge newsletter features something called a Monthly Action Idea. Can you explain what this is and why adopting some of these ideas would be beneficial for families with youngsters?

HKC Parents and educators alike will enjoy our free e-newsletter and our monthly action idea. Healthy Kids Challenge is a team of registered dietitians and we all have backgrounds in child and school nutrition. We have developed many nutrition education tools and curriculum. To get families and schools started thinking nutrition education in the home and at school, we offer one of those ideas free each month, available by clicking on Monthly Action Idea from our homepage at It’s all about wrapping healthy eating conversation and action into daily living. If you’re in the car, why not talk about how to “eat your colors” with different fruits and veggies, then draw pix of those when you get home, make a list for the grocery store and let your child help prepare and serve the “colors” of fruits and veggies they selected. Same sort of education can happen in the classroom.

Lindsay Any ideas on how to get kids to try new foods?

HKC Patience and consistency. It may take up to 15-20 times with a new food for a little one’s palate to really decide if he or she likes that food so serving broccoli once and giving up won’t get it, try again. Remember, mom and dad decide what is served, child decides whether or not to eat, food should not be reward or punishment. Try new foods in different ways, such as that broccoli with a small amount of cheese sauce, or raw with low-fat veggie dip, or finely chopped in meatloaf or lasagne. Offer a new food along with other more familiar and favorite foods too so it’s not overwhelming to the child to come to the table and not feel comfortable with any item offered. Last thought, role model, what mom and dad say and try is very important.

zulily Vickie, we want to thank you for sharing such great information, tips, and tricks for encouraging lifelong healthy eating habits, shopping on a budget with nutrition in mind, and letting us know we can be OK with the occasional snack.

HKC Before our time is up, I just want to encourage all of you that food jags and ups and downs with feeding kids is normal. Offer a variety of healthy options and involve your kids, enjoy meals, snacks, menu planning and grocery shopping together as part of normal family routine. If you have school age kids, get involved with your school’s PTA/PTO or wellness council and keep keep coming back to HKC for help and support, like us on facebook, share in our Cause and sign up for your newsletter. We want to make a difference for kids with you!

zulily Before you go, can you share with us a little about which Healthy Kids Challenge campaign your most excited about and why?

HKC Our campaign we’re most excited about is for sure our Ten for Ten Cause, Zulily! School budgets are so tight, and yet nutrition education for kids is needed now more than ever. If every person each of us knew helped out in a small way, we could help truly a million kids have the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy choices and live an active, healthy lifestyle. Thanks for helping us make that happen, Zulily.

zulily Thank you to our awesome followers for asking such great questions and a special thanks to Healthy Kids Challenge for such in depth and informative responses.

This is the transcript of the healthy eating Facebook chat with Healthy Kids Challenge and zulily from 11-2-11. You may also like to visit the zulily blog:

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