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Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

(Family Features) As a parent, instilling healthy eating habits in your children at an early age can aid in proper growth and development. Eating well goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight, increasing energy levels and improving moods while also reducing risk of obesity and other chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes later in life.

Set your children on a path to making lifelong nutritious choices with these tips:

Foster independence. Allowing your children to help with shopping and meal prep can aid in them taking ownership of what they’re eating. Start by divvying up easier tasks such as setting the table then work toward creating snacks and meals on their own. These Rainbow Fruit Parfaits are simple for kids to assemble – just set the ingredients out and let them layer – and can serve as a healthful on-the-go breakfast or after-school snack.

Offer balanced options. Children require balanced diets made up of all three major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, for proper development. Looking for the Produce for Kids logo next to nutritional, family-friendly items at the grocery store is an easy way to identify healthy food choices while also supporting local organizations that help children and families in need.

Be a role model. Typically, your children will follow your behaviors, which includes the types of foods they select at mealtimes. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can help ensure your family is getting a complete range of nutrients. For example, a recipe like this Rainbow Buddha Bowl provides a combination of fresh and roasted vegetables that can be customized to meet your family’s tastes. Thinking about how many colors you eat in a day may inspire your kids to do the same, which can foster a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

To find more healthy meal inspiration, including more than 500 registered dietitian- and family-tested recipes, visit produceforkids.com.

Rainbow Fruit Parfaits

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 3

  • 1/2       cup sliced strawberries
  • 2          mandarins, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2       cup chopped pineapple
  • 2          kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  1. In parfait glasses, layer strawberries, mandarins, pineapple, kiwis, blueberries and grapes.
  2. Top each fruit parfait with yogurt.

Rainbow Buddha Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Jodi of Create Kids Club on behalf of Produce for Kids

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1          medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1          cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2       small purple cabbage, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1          cup red cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2       cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1          avocado, sliced
  • 4          tablespoons yogurt ranch dressing
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Place sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
  3. Divide cooked quinoa into four bowls. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and avocado.
  4. Drizzle with dressing.

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