Albany County
175 Green Street | Albany, NY 12202
Phone: (518) 447-4580 | Fax: (518) 447-4698
Elizabeth F. Whalen, MD, MPH, Commissioner

Ways to Introduce Healthful Foods to Children

Here are some general tips for getting your children to eat a variety of healthier foods:

Have children help with the planning of meals.

Have children assist with the shopping for family meals.

Children will take more interest in eating foods if they help with the preparation of the meals.

Children also like to help serve.

Make some meals a time for adults to serve the children and other nights for the children to serve the adults.

Make up funny names for dishes, encourage children to rename a dish.

Make mealtime fun.

Be creative when serving foods:

  • Make a face on a tomato slice with various vegetable bits;
  • Cut sandwiches into funny shapes;
  • Make pancakes in the shapes of letters.

Have mealtimes centered around different themes. For instance, have a Mexican night where the children make fiesta placemats, decorations and put on clothes that have a Mexican theme.

Serve a "salad bar" so children can make their own selection.

Never force a child to eat something -- Do encourage the child to always try a bite of everything. (Do this at each different meal that a food is served. our tastes change as we grow and sometimes a food that isn't favored at one meal becomes tasty at another.)

Don’t always have "traditional" mealtime foods - once in awhile serve pizza, or fruit-yogurt shakes, for breakfast. Try banana waffles for dinner.

Use your imagination: have a picnic in the middle of the kitchen floor; or use your best plates and glasses and pretend you're at a fancy restaurant.

Plant a vegetable garden with your children.

Since young children tend to mimic behavior, be a good role model by eating a variety of foods yourself.

Try our fun and healthy recipes!

Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy