How to Teach Healthy Eating to Elementary Students

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Help your child enjoy eating healthy to establish a lifelong habit.

According to LetsMove.gov, childhood obesity has tripled in the last three decades. Minority children, such as African Americans and Hispanics, have a higher rate of obesity than white children. With these alarming statistics, the government, schools and parents are taking steps to curb the trend of childhood obesity. Teaching children healthy eating habits in elementary school is one step toward reversing this trend. Encourage children to eat balanced meals and be conscious of portion sizes. Teach children about healthy eating both at home and at school to provide a consistent message for a healthy lifestyle.

Things You'll Need

  • healthy food
  • posters on nutrition
  • websites for kids on nutrition
  • water bottle
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Instructions

  1. At Home

    • 1
      Let kids take a proactive role in choosing healthy food.
      Let kids take a proactive role in choosing healthy food.

      Bring your kids grocery shopping with you. Tell them the health benefits of certain foods, and let them pick out healthy foods such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Talk to your kids about eating unhealthy foods, such as sugary cereal and cookies, in moderation.

    • 2

      Cook a healthy family meal as often as possible. Let kids choose the menu from a list of healthy choices. Teach them how to prepare healthy foods and let them help you make dinner. Make kid-friendly foods, such as pizza, using healthy ingredients. Serve healthy snacks between meals.

    • 3

      Make mealtime an event. Encourage the entire family to sit down together at a certain time. Ask everyone to help with the preparation and clean-up---making the food, setting the table, serving drinks and doing the dishes. Turn off the television and other distractions so that the family can concentrate on enjoying the meal and the company. Eliminate rules such as "clean your plate" in favor of "eat until you're not hungry."

    • 4
      Make water the beverage of choice.
      Make water the beverage of choice.

      Encourage your children to drink plenty of fluids, mainly water. Buy them a water bottle to carry throughout the day. Serve juices with no added sugar, and teach them to make nutritious drinks, such as smoothies.

    • 5

      Practice healthy eating yourself. Let your kids see you eating healthy food in small portions. Eat nutritious snacks, and drink water throughout the day.

    At School

    • 6

      Teach kids about food. Explain the food groups, and provide examples of foods from category. Talk to children about the nutrients and other benefits certain foods offer. Study why you need protein, fiber, vitamins, unsaturated fats and carbohydrates. Encourage children to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

    • 7

      Teach kids about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Study the risks of unhealthy eating, such as obesity and heart disease. Provide information and resources for kids to learn more in the form of posters, websites and speakers.

    • 8

      Provide healthy meals at school. Serve low-fat lean protein options, low-fat dairy, low-sugar cereal and fresh fruit for breakfast. Serve several healthy options for lunch. Provide labels for foods with the nutrition facts listed, so children can learn to read and understand the labels.

    • 9
      Let kids enjoy a healthy snack at school.
      Let kids enjoy a healthy snack at school.

      Give time for snacks and water breaks. Ask kids to bring a healthy snack to eat in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and the end of the school day. Allow kids to bring water bottles to school or take water breaks to hydrate and reduce hunger.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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