5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Eating at Home
By Kathy Higgins, CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
As a working mom of twins, I know life can be hectic and unpredictable. Regardless of the many soccer carpools, swim meets, or spelling bees, I always aim to keep one thing consistent in our home: healthy eating. My boys know that when we eat well, we feel well.
Despite my best intentions, though, it’s often hard to find the time or mental energy to keep a healthy home. That’s why I've made it my mission to ensure that Alliance for a Healthier Generation, in partnership with Kohl’s, offers families helpful, evidence-based resources through the Kohl’s Healthy at Home initiative.
From one busy parent to another, here are my five tips to promote healthy eating in your home:
1. Display healthy snacks prominently around the house
We’ve all been there – you’re hungry or bored and grazing for a midday snack. Keeping healthy foods visible helps make these choices more accessible for your family. Put a bowl of apples or bananas on the counter or try storing healthy snacks on the most visible shelf in the refrigerator. With healthy options in plain sight, you’ll also know instantly when it’s time to restock or try something new.
2. Model healthy attitudes and behaviors around food
Kids mimic what they see and hear. Modeling healthy thoughts and actions around eating can help children – including teens – develop a positive association with nutritious foods. Next time you’re sitting around the kitchen table, talk about your favorite fruits or veggies. Or, when you’re packing your lunch for work, invite them to help you and see how you fuel your body for a productive day.
3. Involve children in decision-making
Having stake in any game makes it more fun to play. Engaging children in decisions around what you eat and buy can go a long way in helping them develop healthy habits. Is green their favorite color? Invite them to try a green apple or celery. Older children can get in on the action, too, by using grocery shopping as a chance to learn budgeting or money skills. Asking for feedback on foods they like or dislike can also help them feel like they have a seat at the table.
4. Prepare meals as a family
In addition to involving children in decision-making, try to include them in preparing meals at home too. Cooking together is a great opportunity to practice new skills and it helps young people gain a deeper understanding of where their food comes from. To start, pick out one or two recipes to try each week and really have fun with it. This is also a nice time to check in with your kids and ask about their day.
5. Make connections between school and home
Across the country, schools are making big strides to uphold healthier learning environments. You can support your child’s school by joining the wellness committee or simply sending in a healthy snack to celebrate a birthday or holiday. Talking with your child about the healthy things they do at school boosts connection and helps you make choices that support your family’s health at home. A win-win!
Looking for more tips to stay healthy at home? Visit our Eating Healthy at Home hub for free resources and inspiration all year long.