ages 2-5 ages 6-8 ages 9-12
Wherever you see this key, the activities have been carefully selected for the age groups listed.
Summertime sizzles with nonstop action for kids. But sometimes everyone gets so caught up in having fun that good nutrition gets overlooked. How can you energize your on-the-go kids with foods that are good for their active, growing bodies? Try these tips from Connie Evers, a Portland nutritionist who specializes in the health of children and adolescents.
Recruit summer’s best. Capitalize on the season’s array of healthy homegrown fare. “Take kids to a farmers’ market or grocery store and let them select a new fruit or vegetable to try,” Evers suggests. Eating something new becomes an adventure.
Make it easy to eat. “Young children don’t want to peel an orange, and they can’t cut an apple,” Evers points out. So when the weather heats up, let your hungry kids discover the joy of juicy orange sections or cold apple wedges (kept fresh with a splash of lemon juice). You can bet they’ll want to dive in.
Make it easy to see. Store fresh fruits and veggies in transparent plastic boxes or see-through bags and place them on the shelf in your fridge that’s at your kid’s eye level. “Kids will always grab what’s right in front of them,” Evers says, “so line up nutritious choices.”
Smart strategies for every stage
Make good eating more fun for your kids by tapping into the things that really interest them.
serve up some fun
ages 2 to 5
Little kids love to feel big. Give them that chance by serving nutritious foods as grown-up appetizers. Try artfully arranging fresh fruit pieces, cheese chunks, and bagel squares on a pretty tray. Drape a dishtowel over your arm waiter-style and use your best manners as you serve your kids. Then let them serve you.
ages 6 to 8
Kids at this age are all about high-touch learning experiences. That makes this a great time to introduce them to the fun of fixing food. For starters, try letting your little ones help roll cookie dough, or make watermelon balls with a small scoop. There are plenty more friendly recipes and fun ideas here.
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ages 9 to 12
Older kids are ready to branch out into their own food creations, and cool kabobs offer unlimited possibilities. Help kids thread skewers with cheeses, pizza ingredients (mozzarella chunks, cherry tomatoes, pepperoni, seasoned bread wedges), or your favorite summer veggies or fruits. Serve plain or with low-fat dressing or sauce.