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ELISARA2005 Posts: 111
6/15/14 3:26 A

@Slimbot, Thanks for your comment. I went to Ted talks and watched that show with Ron Finley. I cheered, I laughed, and I was inspired. He hit the nail on the head. Children in a garden is a beautiful thing. There is a community garden about a mile from me. I'm going to go and see what I can do to help. Thank you so much for that link. You helped me find a way to promote something I feel passionate about.

SLIMBOT Posts: 147
6/11/14 9:33 P

I'd just like to second what ELISARA2005 said about gardening. It reminded me of this quote from Ron Finley, a community activist and guerilla gardener (if you haven't seen his TED Talk, it's pretty inspiring):

"If kids grow kale, kids EAT kale!"

He is so right.

LASCHWAB SparkPoints: (2,893)
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6/11/14 1:51 P

I think you're going to have to ask her parents to become more involved for this to work to it's full potential. Otherwise, she has only one example and the people who influence and enable her the most are still providing the unhealthy food. If it's just coming from you, it may be too intermittent (though, for sure still worth your effort).

I know we were taught this kind of thing in school gym class, but because it was only for an hour a day, most of us disregarded it or thought of it as something we just had to get through. Do you think her parents would be willing to help put some effort in? Buy fewer (though not no) snack, buy more fruit, asking her to cook, putting restrictions on how often she is allowed to eat out.. and make these family rules? i.e. if she can't eat that, neither can they?

I think it's great you want to help your granddaughter, and maybe her parents need a bit of guidance too. I think a lot of these people have great ideas! Can you also incorporate some fitness too? Like weekly bike rides in the park or to the grocery store?

Edited by: LASCHWAB at: 6/11/2014 (13:56)
6/8/14 4:43 P

I teach seniors, but I think with them and kids, gardening and the plate method are easy tools. Teaching serving size through actual examples they can touch and offering healthier alternatives to their favorites really help them stick to it.

ELISARA2005 Posts: 111
6/7/14 8:57 P

I work with young children (preschoolers) and I have a 5 year old son. The biggest contributor to him being interested in food, even more than the cooking and baking we do together, is gardening. He loves the process of it.We do it all together. From seed or plant-ling all the way to harvesting, he is with me all the way. He gets absolutely ecstatic wen it is time to get the fruit or veggies from the bushes. We do container gardening so we are constantly carrying water outside or dead heading. That was my segue into nutrition. He gets a say in what plants we buy and where they are placed on our patio. I hope that this is at least a bit helpful. Good Luck!

MOODYKEYS SparkPoints: (26,689)
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6/6/14 6:45 P

no sitting on their butts. get them up and playing outside. there is lots to do. my grandkids across the rode, ride bikes, ride 4 wheelers, play baseball, basketball, chase and they snowmobile in the winter too. i dont buy junk food for snack any more. crackers and chees or peanut butter, tostitos with salsa, nuts, apples and oranges. sometimes i have no sugar ice cream and they love the fruit only popcycles. hope some of these help. if its not there they cant eat it.

BETHPIC1 Posts: 4
6/6/14 10:08 A

Is there any physical activity she likes to do? My one daughter is really into basketball and the other is really into gymnastics, so we talk a lot about foods that could help them perform better versus those that don't, etc., and why. It has led to my girls asking things at dinner like, "Is this brown rice or white?" and choosing milk or water over juice or soda. Drawing the connection to the things they love has helped encourage better choices.

SHAWNIEDOWN SparkPoints: (10,105)
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6/4/14 3:35 P

What I have noticed is no matter how old someone is, If you sit down near someone and eat your food like you haven't seen food in 2 years they get curious and want to sample what you are eating.

GOLDENRODFARM SparkPoints: (355,171)
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6/1/14 10:44 A

If your pasta sauce is too acid for you popping a couple of carrots. peeled but whole while cooking will absorb some of the bitter taste, something my Grandmother used to do.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,529
5/31/14 6:42 P

If you cook with her, but don't make it a lesson in nutrition. Just cook healthier food. I am sure that she will appreciate the time with you. Leave the charts and nutrition lessons behind and just have fun

5/31/14 5:03 P

Cookbooks as gifts...what a great idea!!!! emoticon

ALIHIKES Posts: 4,403
5/25/14 2:42 P

This is a great idea and I applaud you for trying to help your grandchild eat nutritious food. For kids, I think eating should be fun. When I was a kid, I didn't eat plain celery -- but I loved ants on a log (celery stalk stuffed with a little peanut butter and decorated with raisins), or stuffed with cream cheese and olives. My sister had success calling sliced carrots drizzled with a little honey "Pirate's gold", and broccoli was baby trees (if she hid a mixed a few nuts in, it was "find the hidden soldiers by eating the trees".My nephew wouldn't eat any salad -- but he would eat stirfry veggies with a little meat wrapped in a lettuce leaf when it was called "beef in a leaf".

And like the other posts, when I was a little older I really enjoyed cooking with mom, whether it was cutting things up or tasting the soup to see if it needed more seasoning. Most kids like chicken, and pizza CAN be made healthier with lots of veggies/no pepperoni. I wouldn't be to strict or lecture, but definitely encourage learning and exploring new tastes.

5/24/14 10:44 P

I always filled up the fridge with healthy choices, then let my son chose what he wanted to eat. When he was very little, I would give him two healthy things to chose from. He ended up eating a healthy variety.

DSTENORE Posts: 87
5/24/14 12:56 P

Cooking together can be fun, encourage her to join you in cooking a family dinner. There are some great resources online for healthy diets. Since kids today love to use the internet, ask her to do some research and work together to come up with a perfect proportioned dinner that you two can cook together for family night dinner. Create a reward of some sort, nothing like motivation. Allow her to select a movie to watch on family night, or a movie in the theater. My granddaughter is a vegetarian now. She loves vegetarian cookbooks and trying to learn meals that everyone will enjoy. I've sent her cookbooks and when she finds something that appeals to her, she'll ask if we can do it together. As her confidence in cooking grew, because the non-vegetarians actually raved about her meal....she became more excited to cook dinner once a week. She provides me her shopping list, and I take care of that part. She cooks the entire meal while I set the table. Grandpa does the dishes! As a reward for taking on that responsibility, we celebrated with a "spa day" that is now an annual "girls" day.

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
5/24/14 9:45 A

Can you get her to help you with a garden? Have her choose some vegetables to grow and maybe she will want to try them and share them with her parents.
Have her join you for meals at least once a week. Offer to make her breakfast or dinner if the parents just don't have time on weekdays.
Stock your home with healthy foods and have her spend time there. My dd loves fruit, cheese or yogurt for a snack.
Make food from scratch. My dd devours homemade applesauce or homemade oatmeal bread.
Present things like smoothies as treats.
Shop for food together. Have her choose a fruit or vegetable to try.
Cook together often. Give her a kid's cookbook as a gift. Teach her how to prepare real food for herself and her family.
Talk about how to make a meal more balanced and why you personally choose to eat a certain way. Don't call the food she likes horrible or tell her she should never eat it. Ask her what she could change about the food she eats or add to her meals to improve it (more variety, more colors, a food from each food group).

When my dd was younger, I observed that sometimes she would eat things at her grandparent's house that she would never eat at home. Grandma didn't have to do anything special. As far as I could tell it was just a different environment with a different person. Just being there and the food you make available in your home is a big thing.

SUSANK16 Posts: 2,635
5/24/14 6:36 A

Okay - you do realize you could be living dangerously - if mom and dad are supporting poor nutrition and you swoop in with charts and graphs and etc...... However, I do applaud your effort so my suggestion is model good behaviour, eat well in front and with her and do not enable the bad behaviour. Farmers market is a great idea, but teach her how eating well can be less expensive with more flavour. How about picnic walks or movies with healthy snacks. I

ANDILH Posts: 1,543
5/23/14 10:02 P

Make it about you. Say you want to change your eating habits and could use her help. Ask her to help you research, shop, cook, and taste. When a child thinks she is doing a favor for a loved adult, unless there is something going on, they generally love to do it. If she's active, you could start by helping her research what foods will help her grow, make her stronger, etc. if she is athletic. Because each child is so different, it can be hard to give specific suggestions.
I've worked with lots of autistic kids as well as really picky eaters. The boy I nanny for would only eat beige food when I started. He is not autistic. He loved anything with cheese. I covered vegetables in cheese, fried them he LOVED them. Next step, bake them, next step less cheese, etc. He loved yogurt so we started trying new fruits with vanilla yogurt with some cinnamon mixed in as a dip. Most kids love dip. Make a sauce and fill it with diced or pureed vegetables. After they admit they like it, tell them what was in it. Or do the same with smoothies. There are tons of great tasting smoothie recipes that include vegetables, even tofu for protein. We had a challenge during a children's rec soccer season. Every week I'd bring a HUGE batch of smoothies and they had to guess what the mystery ingredient was. One kid got it twice, but other than that spinach, kale, carrots, tofu, protein powder, plain greek yogurt, and other random vegetables made it into smoothies. I had to give recipes to parents.
As he's gotten older including him in shopping, cooking, etc., now there isn't anything he won't try. Sometimes kids like to eat things on sticks. Bamboo kebob sticks make great ways to get kids to try new fruits cut and put on the sticks. Another thing that I've had really good luck with is changing how something is served. Shave or grate carrots into salads or wraps for extra crunch, mix dried fruits and nuts together for trail mix. A lot of kids love things in wraps, I discovered rice wrappers. They end up the size of egg rolls and can be filled with anything. They've been a great way to introduce new vegetables. The kids get to choose what to mix together to make a dipping sauce from what's in the fridge.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,529
5/23/14 1:34 P

I have made my own pasta sauce and it is really sour, even bitter, without added sugar. I just add a pinch though. No more than a teaspoon.

FIREFLY0032 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/23/14 9:48 A

I take my kids to the farmers market and we buy local meats, eggs and produce. we also grow veggies in the back yard. I think that when kids see where real food comes from they appreciate it more and are willing to learn about why its good for them. plus when you grow your own veggies they just taste a thousand times better!

MIKA710 SparkPoints: (12,218)
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5/23/14 9:38 A

I've been reading a book by William Sears about Nutritional Deficit Disorder (his own term). He talks a lot about "grow foods" - foods that are good for growing. He doesn't focus on weight rather health.
My 12 year old daughter would make poor choices if left on her own. I've been trying to get her to eat better in the last month or so and notice that if I just give her something, rather than ask her if she wants it, that she'll nibble away. Not necessarily eat all of something but certainly give it a shot. For example, yesterday a breakfast sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin. Normally she would turn her nose up - but she ate half the English muffin. I did not praise her for eating it instead just asked if she'd had enough. I'm trying to downplay that any of these changes might be good for her! And lately I've been slicing up fruit and adding it to her plate at breakfast or add a handful of sliced carrots and cucumbers at lunch/dinner. Other additions include whole wheat flour and/or rolled oats in muffins.
We've switched to only whole wheat breads and pastas, and I'm really keeping an eye on sugar content in food (why does pasta sauce need added sugar?)
The changes are gradual and so far so good.
And my daughter is beginning to be interested. I notice she's attempting to drink more water and is asking for certain fruits when I shop.

NEWBERRYBEAR71 SparkPoints: (24,575)
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5/23/14 8:41 A

This is a great thread! I wish my family/friends were as interested in good nutrition for their kids. When my kids go to Grandma's she lets them eat ANYthing they want and as much as they want. For my super skinny 8 yr old boy that's not an issue, however my 5 yr old girl is slightly chubby. I've been working with her food choices, but I haven't been a very good role model. I know it will be a process, but Grandma doesn't make it any easier. We have those divided portion plates and both my kids love them! I bought them off ebay. They are helpful, you can actually see how much and the variety they should be getting.

DANAG22 Posts: 741
5/22/14 3:13 P

I commend all the parents, grandparents who try and teach their children healthy eating and what nutrition is ! I only wish I had a different family upbringing. I do put blame and resentment on my family who didn't teach me a healthy lifestyle because they themselves weren't into eating healthy.

NOVEMBERMUM SparkPoints: (15,124)
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5/22/14 2:39 P

I tell my 4-yr old the health benefits in a fun way.

"These carrots will help you see in the dark!" emoticon

5/20/14 11:31 A

There are tons of amazing suggestions on this thread. I'll just add - if you're on Pinterest, you can find lots of articles and resources with ideas for presenting healthy food in fun, kid-friendly ways.

MAMABEAR372 SparkPoints: (45,821)
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5/20/14 11:12 A

kabobs are great for kids! I have 3 boys, 21, 18 and 10. I have taught them food can be your friend and fun. We have done fruit kabobs, veggie kabobs, and meat and veggie kabobs. To them it is more fun if they can make it and it's on a stick!

STARRD616 SparkPoints: (17,322)
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5/20/14 8:55 A


In addition to modeling the healthy eating habits you want for your children. I suggest you check out for some fun things they have for teaching nutrition and health. Also, the federal government has pages on the healthy plate. Oriental trading may have some crafts or activities that you could do with the kids.
Take them to farmers markets and let them pick out something they'd like to eat (they could ask the growers for preparation ideas) and then let them prepare it.
Finally, I suggest planting a garden -- even if it is just some greens in a planter in a sunny window-- this gives opportunities to talk about what a plant needs to be healthy and what the child needs to be healthy (even if the plant wilts, you have that lesson of needing water)-- in addition, I understand that if a child grows a vegetable, they are more likely to eat that vegetable. Hope this helps.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
5/19/14 11:25 A

I think the best place to start is with the parents. Even if you somehow taught her proper nutrition.. could she get a healthy meal at home/school? That would require good food to be at home, so she can eat healthy there, and take healthy food to school, since they don't sell any.

If the parents and you both had nothing but healthy meals, then the child wouldn't know anything else, especially, if they sent lunch with her. Sure, there might be snacks, and pop, but the base of her diet would be good, and we get used to what we eat. I didn't eat candy or pop as a child, because we just did not consume it.. ever. So I didn't crave it, or miss it.

The #1 issue is making the healthy dish taste as good as unhealthy dishes. A child is not going to decide to be healthy based on logic. They will eat what tastes better. It's easier to teach children that your healthy dishes taste better than the bad food, than it is to teach nutrition to them. Make your dishes tastier than pizza, and they will choose your food. So the place to start would more likely be cooking lessons.

In your desire to do a good thing, you have decided to teach nutrition to a child, when the simple fix, would be to train adults. You know good nutrition, so train the parents, and both of you make sure that your dishes are tastier than junk food. Then all the child needs to do is eat the tastiest food.

It seems to me that you doubt good food can be tastier, so you want to teach a child nutrition, so that her brain will help her pick the nutritious food, when her taste buds want to unhealthy foods. In short, you want a child to eat food that doesn't taste as good, because it is nutritious. We can't get 70 % of adults to do this, so why would it work on a child?

Make tastier food, eat it yourself ( parents too ). Lead by example, and teach the child nutrition when they are in their teens, so that they can make better choices when they move out. For now though, let them be a child, and children eat what is tasty. The problem is, we make crappy tasting healthy food.

So a kid eats a Hot Pocket and thinks it tastes so good compared to last night's dinner. That is your problem, not the child's. Hot Pockets taste horrible, but healthy food as we have come to know it, tastes worse. That can be changed. Cook tastier food, and they set aside the Hot pockets for your dinner. They didn't have to learn nutrition. You had to learn to make nutritious, TASTY dinners.

I think you will find it easier to teach adults to cook better, than it is to teach a child nutrition. My brother recently took a nutrition class in college, and most of the 19-20 year olds struggled, and several failed the course. Instead of expecting a 4 year old to understand nutrition, wouldn't it make sense for the adults to take a cooking class?

5/19/14 10:43 A

I think that the biggest gain I have made with my grandchildren is simply teaching them to cook. Not only cook, but to prepare from scratch as much as possible is a very empowering thing for a child.

That gives them so many skills, skills that we take for granted. Planning, organization, hygiene, and safety are but a few basics that they will learn. To the OP's question specifically, you will be teaching them to do the processing rather than relying on a processed box or bag with a label on it.

I am fortunate to have the space and means for a garden. It is a very gratifying experience to take a child through the process of planting, maintaining, harvesting, and ultimately putting things by. They have canned fruits, and vegetables, and meat. They have dehydrated them also. They know exactly where those items are in the pantry, and how to rotate stock.

It is the simplest of things that give the greatest gains. Teach them to cook, from scratch.

HADLEY123 SparkPoints: (22,511)
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5/18/14 7:38 P

So many good ideas here. Like some of the other posters, I have encouraged my daughter to have full freedom of choice in the produce aisle. Whatever strikes her fancy, I buy it. She then gets a slice of cheese at the deli counter and a cookie at the bakery counter. She'll ask for avocados or stuffed artichokes.

We plant Brussels sprouts and eat them fresh from the garden in the dead of winter. Those are her absolute favorite and I sometimes hear her tell adults that say they don't like Brussels spouts that they need to come to our house to try them. (We plant other stuff and she eats that too, but none of it is as impressive as her loving Brussels sprouts.)

Her friends will go home and complain to their families after a night at our house that "her mommy cooks with vegetables." On the flip side, she'll come back from a night away and say, "We didn't have any vegetables. Not even for dinner." Kids do what seems normal to them. Make vegetables normal and they'll go along with it. Same with no breakfast and dinner from a fast food bag. They do what they're taught.

The best thing about food is that it represents so much that is wonderful. Make it into a celebration and she'll love it. I remember when I was a little girl I'd visit my aunt for a week or two every summer. She would take me out for crepes and pack fancy picnics that we'd eat on the beach. She'd let me make the salad for dinner and I could put anything I wanted in it. We'd have raw cauliflower and onion dip and watch thunderstorms outside. Good times. I still feel that happiness when I eat those things.

KOALA_BEAR SparkPoints: (18,475)
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5/18/14 2:17 A

I think you could use color. When you have her over to your house to eat, start preparing the dinner by simply stating it's best to have one food of each color so if meat is white or brown, then sweet potatoes or squash would be orange, a toss salad would be green, the dessert could be pineapple with blueberries. It looks colorful and is a great way to work variety into the food plan. Tell her it's more appetizing that way - don't mention the health part.

Lunch could be a vegetable soup with a turkey or ham & cheese sandwich on whole grain bread and a handful of grapes or a small pear for dessert or a mid afternoon snack. Egg salad can be made with plenty of chopped celery, pickles, and radishes or water chestnuts. Spoon onto large lettuce leaves and eat wraps. Instead of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, instead serve PB on celery sticks with raisin *the old "ants on a log" or a twist on the classic grilled cheese & tomato soup would be a quesadilla with some chunky salsa.

Try to encourage one vegetarian meal a week in place of lunch and dinner. Again skip the healthy part by saying you are looking for ways to stretch your food budget. After all, who isn't? So a spaghetti sauce can be made with chunks of veggies added rather than meat. Use whole grain or vegetable pasta, or serve it over quinoa. If she balks, then cut the meat portion down like beans and franks or turkey chili with lots of pinto & kidney beans. Stuffed bell peppers are easy to make, can be filled with an assortment of stuffing like corn, chopped vegetables such as shredded carrots, mushrooms & peppers, and cornbread for extra texture.

A tasty dinner can be made by serving a dinner size salad and having seeds and nuts for protein, shredded low fat cheese, and making your own dressing. Not a fan of oil & vinegar? Make a creamy one using a blended mix using soft tofu, frozen berries, vinegar & apple juice.

Another idea is to have breakfast be cottage cheese with peach slices or yogurt with a bit on honey stirred in along with some sliced strawberries. If she's a big eater, spoon the yogurt over granola or try adding unsweetened applesauce into hot oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

As the child gets introduced to all the foods in their natural whole state, she will come to enjoy produce, and want to eat it and not settle for the junk food from a package or factory. Encourage her to save recipes by gifting her with a recipe box, and perhaps a cookbook with basic recipes - like Betty Crocker or Better Homes & Gardens. I still refer to mine now & then for learning about cuts of meat, how long to cook certain foods, what temp to set the oven, and what spices and seasoning go with what foodstuffs.

WOUBBIE Posts: 13,756
5/17/14 3:27 P

How good are YOUR nutritional habits? If you're:

~ healthy
~ close to ideal weight
~ making food choices that give you both good nutrition and keep you from having cravings or being excessively hungry

then just feed her what you eat. No muss, no fuss, no lectures. She'll come to understand that she feels better when she's eaten at Grandma's house than when she just scavenges for junk. If you can include her in the process of buying, preparing, cooking, serving, and eating the food and make it fun, she'll be hooked for life!

My sons often commented about how poorly their friends ate, and what junky choices they were offered at others' houses. Don't think the kids don't notice. Their friends LOVE eating at our house, because instead of throwing Pizza Bites at them we have homemade chili, or pork chops, or burgers off the grill - nothing fancy, just not processed!

Edited by: WOUBBIE at: 5/17/2014 (15:29)
BUFFLIECE Posts: 522
5/17/14 9:51 A

It's starts at home. No matter what tips you use, if not backed up at home, it just won't stick. I'm a mom not a grandma but we all know what it's like for someone to try to teach something to our kids we don't fully agree with. I would address her parents first and foremost only addressing if they are on board with changing how they eat, it's a family thing and our example wins over anything we can say.

Depending on her age, these are my tips:
*Make it a game - "how many colors can you fit on your plate?" "Betcha haven't tried a rutabaga...let's buy one at the store and do a taste test"

*Educate through discussion - "Where does this food come from?" "Is this grown on a tree or in the ground?" "How do you think this food is made?"

*Cook together - There are great kids' cookbooks out there. My fav is "Kids' Fun and Healthy Cookbook"

*For younger kids, keep it simple. Categorize into "sometimes foods and all the time foods" - I got this from Sesame Street.

*Our pediatrition told us to just not give up. Keep putting veggies and fruits on their plate so the kids know they are just part of a meal. Yes food will be wasted. Combat that by not putting so much on their plate and let them ask for more if still hungry. We've been doing this since toddlerhood. One night (at six years old), my son said "but I don't want salad on my plate" to which I replied "it's just part of a meal buddy"... It was not instant infatuation but he loves salad now.

JOSIEBON Posts: 244
5/17/14 9:09 A

I "liked" the Today I Ate a Rainbow page on FaceBook. They have some great ideas for adding new fruits and veggies to your diet. The food sometimes looks so fun that when I'm scrolling through my FB, my kids will actually ask me to make some of the items. Eating it is another matter, but at least they are excited to try it. :)

5/17/14 6:38 A

I didn't read this entire thread and honestly I don't have the time to. LOL

Here is my standpoint: you are a parent - be a parent! Don't allow any options other than healthy food in the house. You are the #1 signal to what that means by your actions.

Personally I believe in a plant-based eating program.

As to what to do when they are out and about: drill into them NOT to indulge, again being a great example.

JENN53888 Posts: 161
5/16/14 8:15 P

Having 3 children who are extremely picky eaters, (2 are autistic, and those kids, picky is a understatement) I'm wondering WHY she eats this way.. Are the parents just too busy to make dinner in the morning/at night? but she will eat healthier choices if given the chance? OR is it because she's one of these kids that just doesn't eat.

I have to agree with the school lunches, probably the best meal of the day. They sound worse than they are, I'd give my left arm for my daughter to eat at school. I've been making lunches for 4 years now. lol

I would try to just lead by example, you don't need to set up nutrition school while you spend time together. I think doing the new food thing is a GREAT idea, and it got my daughter to eat something more than Spaghetti and Chocolate milk everyday. (and that's literally) We did New food fridays, where once a week I let her help plan dinner. The only rules is that it couldn't be something she's already had before, and that it couldn't be something sweet. I wasn't falling for the new ice cream flavor, not that she didn't try. lol she tried lots of different veggies/fruits that way, and she tried tons of different meals that were mostly pretty related to things she already ate. (rigid routine is a problem with autistic children, so they normally won't venture out of their comfort zone) The point was just trying to get her to eat other foods, not necessarily HEALTHY foods. but it did work. I wouldn't try to teach box labels and doing the plate thing, I assume she's around 7, and she's getting enough of that kind of stuff in school. but the cooking/shopping for ingredients can be fun. :) good luck. I'd be careful with how it's done too, because you don't want the parents to get mad either, if you are doing all this stuff, it might come off as insulting their parenting, which won't be good either. :)

5/16/14 7:49 P

I would recommend looking into Ellyn Satter's recommendations for feeding children. She is a registered dietitian with many years of experience feeding children. Some of the recommendations may be surprising!

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,229)
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5/16/14 5:15 P

I'm glad you are there to help her. I credit being involved in sports for helping me learn healthy habits. Is she actively involved in anything?

JMELBERG SparkPoints: (32,843)
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5/16/14 3:39 P

Let her pick out and help prepare the "new food" My niece and I have a great time in the kitchen cooking and trying new food combinations. How about growing some healthy foods and herbs? Anyway you can involve her in the process will help her learn. Good Luck!

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
5/16/14 12:07 P

"She will learn more from your example of making healthy food accessible (and valued time with you) than being lectured on how much vegetables should be on her plate.

Our girls are very sensitive to the idea that they aren't good enough, don't feed into that feeling."


5/16/14 11:59 A

That is a tricky situation - you are going to be telling her her parents are wrong, she will fear some foods and may begin to worry and not eat/overeat/feel badly. While school lunches get a bad wrap, it is probably the most nutritious part of her day (for MANY kids this is true).

Personally I would look at this as a way to bond with her, not be her teacher. tell her you would love to have a grandma / granddaughter supper club. Over a month you look for simple recipes to make a yummy healthy dinner together (I learned so much cooking with my grandmother!) and three nights you try them out (every Saturday or something and you can go to farmer's markets together, do the shopping together). Then on the 4th Saturday, you both try a new restaurant - the rule is to try something new that you have hand before.

Take photos of the two of you having fun, take out menus and make a little scrap book with her including the recipes you tried together and having her rate them. Maybe for the holidays she can try making one of them on her own! Or maybe she will love a beet salad at a restaurant and try to find a recipe and talk to the chef.

She will learn more from your example of making healthy food accessible (and valued time with you) than being lectured on how much vegetables should be on her plate.

Our girls are very sensitive to the idea that they aren't good enough, don't feed into that feeling.

Edited by: LILSPARKGIRL at: 5/16/2014 (12:00)
JCOW84 SparkPoints: (9,041)
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5/16/14 11:32 A

Ellpie - That googling idea is awesome! I think people have posted great ideas on here, but I'd also get myself mentally prepared for a battle - after all, if she's used to eating that much fast food, she's probably not going to be so excited about healthy choices, no matter how 'fun' it's made. It's hard enough for adults who know better to make healthy choices, much less kids. However, it's great you want to start showing her healthy alternatives. Take baby steps!

PBAILEY06 SparkPoints: (38,842)
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5/16/14 11:28 A

There is a lot of good information on They do teach about portions using the plate method and different age-group activities.

For my son, I lead by example and let him select fruits and vegetable at the grocery store. The new thing this year is he helped me plant my garden and is more interested in trying the foods since he helped grow them.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
5/16/14 11:11 A

I just thought of something else...depending on her age (??) she most likely is internet savvy? Yes? Most 10 year olds are...

Anyway, once in while you could say to her (while you are busy cooking dinner) "Honey do me a favour, can you google "nutrition green beans" and then google "nutrition carrots", and tell me which one has more fiber?" And then say "Well, I guess tonite we will have (whatever has the most fiber)".

It's sneaky way of incorporating her in the food preparation, teaching her to look up food, and could lead to a discussion (if she asks) about what is fiber and why it's important to get. You can do that with fat sometimes, protein sometimes, carbs, sodium, etc.

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (197,332)
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5/16/14 10:50 A

Setting a good example for kids by eating healthy yourself is the best I can do. Of course, I cook as healthy as I can--sneak in some extra good stuff into their foods. :) Getting kids involved in the cooking process & talking about it some works too.

I have to be careful not to "lecture" with my daughters or they just roll their eyes & leave the room. They WILL learn all about food & nutrition & labels in their health I'm not that concerned about teaching the finer points. I prefer to just lead by example.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
5/16/14 9:29 A

I'd have to say, depends on the age? Really young, Ok - older might just get eye, you know kids today!

That's why I think more subtle approaches work - but, again, depending on the age.

You could discuss meals as you are making them, saying "Well, we have protein and the veggie covered, but we still need a healthy grain....would you like basmati, or brown rice?"

So, how old is she exactly - that might be a better start?

JELYHA SparkPoints: (0)
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5/16/14 9:28 A

Those are some good ideas as when she is with you are leading by example.

HAWKTHREE SparkPoints: (66,990)
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5/16/14 9:19 A

@EELPIE, thanks.

I decided to google portion plate and see what popped up. Lots of stuff, but this one from Amazon is a pretty good representation of what I'm trying to say.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
5/16/14 8:53 A

Here's some ideas I have. I'd like to get more ...
--Make dinner plates that show proportionate sizes and label things as protein etc.***** Like with a sticker? Unless she is 4, no.

--Make smoothies together from real fruit
--Make the first Saturday of each month "Try a new food" day. Go to local farmstands, asian markets, etc to find a new food and google ways to cook it.

Except for the label (which maybe I am not comprehending) all great ideas!!

Cooking together is probably the best way to teach about nutrition. Experimenting is great - but so is just teaching her the basics (things she might be able to make herself when she is 12 -15), healthier oven fried chicken, homemade pizza, healthier mac and cheese, etc

Otherwise, by example: like correct portion sizes, having only healthy treats in your house. If you are out together, and she want's a big mac - say "You know, I only believe in fast food on a rare occasion (or whatever) how about we go to X, I hear they have amazing salads).

Let her see you reading food labels - take her food shopping with you (not for a whole weeks worth of groceries, where you are agonizingly reading over 40 food labels), just where you grab some fruits and veggies, and maybe a few other things - and you read those labels (quickly, so not to lose her interest - and don't sit and out loud scrutinize every ingredient Just say "huh, bread A has less calories and sodium than bread B - Bread A it is!!).

Edited by: EELPIE at: 5/16/2014 (08:53)
HAWKTHREE SparkPoints: (66,990)
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5/16/14 8:12 A

I'm now living closer to my grandchild whose diet is atrocious. Breakfast is nothing or a sweet toaster thing. Lunch is at school and usually is pizza, tacos, or spaghetti. Dinner is McDonald's. I've seen her many times with huge huge drinks of soda.

So she'll be close enough to walk and for the next 2 years before the tweens hit, I expect to see a lot of her.

I can provide healthy food, but I'd like to teach (not preach) healthy eating.

Here's some ideas I have. I'd like to get more ...
--Make dinner plates that show proportionate sizes and label things as protein etc.
--Make smoothies together from real fruit
--Make the first Saturday of each month "Try a new food" day. Go to local farmstands, asian markets, etc to find a new food and google ways to cook it.

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