Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families

I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned as a mom is that I should never assume anything about my kids.  They surprise me all the time!  Like the time Joe, my overly cautious child, climbed up a 50-foot inflatable slide all by himself in the rain and had the courage to slide down.

Or the time Leila grabbed a tomato off the table, took a bite, and then proceeded to eat almost the entire thing.
Kids are a curious bunch.  So why do we limit their curiosity by feeding them primarily “kid foods”?  Why do we assume that they won’t like things like fish, salad, or a tomato?
When we do that, we limit their capacity to choose healthy foods as an adult.  How can they be expected to make good food choices if they have never learned what good choices look like?
So my challenge to you, should you choose to accept it, (and I hope you will) is to make one positive change this week towards eating healthy as a family.  Just one.  Take the first step.
What can you do?  Here are a few suggestions:
Plant something.  It doesn’t have to be an entire garden.  I know that is not realistic for everyone.  But you can plant a pot of herbs.  Do it together!  Let your child pick out the plants and help tend the pot or garden.  As they start to grow, smell them, taste them, use them in cooking.  For tips on how to garden in a small space, check out Urban Organic Gardener.
Make a healthy meal together.  It can be something as simple as pizza or tostadas. Just get in the kitchen together.
Eat together as a family. Family meal time benefits kids in so many ways. Studies show that kids who have regular family meals do better in school and are more likely to stay away from drugs.
Play.  Get outside as a family.  Or have a dance party in your living room. Have fun being active together.
What will you do this week to take the first step towards a healthier family?
Don’t stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don’t get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum FlavorDayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order CookChristy Slaughter
Cut tothe Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them CookingKatie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters:Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters  Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family EatingConnie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat
Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give Up Diane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About EatingMindfully, Michelle May, MD
  • Audrey's mom May 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    We are heading to the Farmers Market, a Monarch Watch opening party, and a birthday party at a park. Full weekend but I am sure we will find a way to cook together in there somewhere.

  • Sara Floor Miller May 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Wow, what a great post! It's so exciting to see kids getting excited about food. I hope everyone takes you up on your challenge!

  • Lauren May 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Love the tomato example, why limit kids (or adults)? Eat things that aren't meant for a particular time of day, let kids experiment. I find my kids like things I wouldn't expect and dislike things I'm convinced they will like.

  • EA-The Spicy RD May 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Love your photos and great advice! The kids and I had fun with our Cinco de Mayo tacos last night!

  • nutritioulicious May 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Love your ideas and your pics! Your kids are so adorable!

  • Maryann May 7, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Great post! We are headed to the Farmer's Market tomorrow (during snack time).


  • Danielle Omar May 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Love the pics! To this day my 3 year old thinks grape tomatoes are a "treat!" It's true, you never know what kids are going to love.

  • Alysa May 19, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Audrey's Mom, that does sound like a full weekend. I hope you were able to get into the kitchen!

    Sara thank you, I hope people take the challenge too!

    Lauren, you are right on. Whenever I think my kids will absolutely NOT like something, they do and vice versa.

  • Alysa May 19, 2011 at 3:52 am

    EA, Jessica, thank you for the comments!

    Maryann, snack time is the perfect time to go to the farmers market! Hope you had fun.

    Danielle, how cute! Joe only likes to eat grape tomatoes if they are paired with fresh basil, haha.

  • Get Kids Cooking | Nutritioulicious October 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm

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