How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy AND a Delicious Recipe!


How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy AND a Delicious Recipe! In today’s world of being busy and on the go, it is often difficult to balance the obligations of school, family and social gatherings. Therefore, having your family eat healthy is usually the first thing that goes by the wayside.

Good nutrition is the foundation that fuels all of us (especially children) to have the energy we need to accomplish those activities and obligations.

What does eating right look like? It starts with color; choosing a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, then balancing those colorful foods with whole grains and lean proteins. Easy to say yes, oftentimes more difficult to incorporate. Luckily, I have a few ideas, mostly borrowed from some very smart clients and Mom Dietitians.

Make it fun!

Kids are often resistant to new foods. It often takes multiple times of seeing and trying a new food before kids decide they like it. So, make a game out of trying a new food. We’ll call it the food challenge. I often do this with my own clients. If they tell me they absolutely don’t like a certain food, that food becomes their homework/food challenge. Making it into a fun and interactive activity can be great for the whole family, and less stressful too.

Start from the beginning: the grocery store, or better yet, if you have time, the farmers market. Begin your adventure in the produce section. This is the heart of the store and the bulk of your food list. Have each child or member of your family pick out two fruits and two veggies each. Do this randomly; the catch is to pick something new, and if you are not familiar with the choice, that is OK too. If you are not familiar with the vegetable or fruit, or a little hesitant, I recommend buying only one of each item.

Research the new foods.

If you child is old enough, have them research where the food comes from and how it is usually consumed. Then find one or two recipes using the food. It’s all part of the learning adventure.

Prepare one of the recipes.

Have your child(ren) help with the preparation of the recipe. Even the youngest can help stir or put ingredients into the bowl for you. The more your child helps with preparing a food, the less scary the new food becomes. After all, the cook needs to make sure the recipe tastes good, right?

Finally, sit down as a family to try your new, colorful fruit or veggie dish.

This takes time and planning, but patience and persistence will win out in the end. A new food does not always go over at first. Often, it takes seeing a new food, trying it in a variety ways – raw, cooked, roasted, grilled and/or mixed – into a known and kid-approved recipe before children and adults decide they like it. Keep trying and keep revisiting the food periodically. Your persistence will pay off.

Zucchini Muffin Recipe

from Simply Recipes

Yield: Makes 12-14 muffins

Serving size: 1 muffin


  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted, unsalted butter (can use canola oil)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (can use half whole wheat flour, or gluten-free flour mixture)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (no sugar added) or dried cranberries (optional)


You don’t need a mixer for this recipe.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts and raisins/cranberries, if using.

2. Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin batter equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25-30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the centers of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool another 20 minutes.

Note: If you are including walnuts or dried fruit, you will likely have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins. A small, oven-safe baking dish could be used for the leftover batter, to make one big muffin to share.

How do you help your kids eat healthy? 

About the Author: Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, is a licensed dietitian practicing in the greater Columbia area. She focuses on diabetic education.


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