Well Kiddos

Improving Kids Menus “One Restaurant and One Family at a Time.”

Healthy Snacks and Wholesome Eating – Good for you and good for the Earth

(A contribution adapted from: Amy Fothergill – “The Family Chef”)

Good nutrition is very basic. Education is the key and learning more is easy. It’s all about balance.

1. Tips for Feeding Kids

(see Well Kiddos’ resource recommendations below)

  • Offer children different foods early on in life as often as you can
  • Expose them to a variety of  flavors and textures
  • Keep trying new foods (literally 10-15 times)
  • Teach them about which nutrients our bodies need and why

2. Think about what our bodies need

At the end of the day (and beginning) our bodies just need 6 nutrients. That’s all.

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Water
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Carbohydrates

3. Take the time to think about what you are eating.

What’s in that cookie from the store? Can I pronounce the ingredients in my crackers? Why is there high fructose corn syrup in my children’s juice? Where did that hamburger come from?

  • Educate your children about food
  • Explain why you want them to eat certain things
  • Talk about food and it’s importance for growing and our health

You may not like to say ‘NO’ all of the time. When my son asks me for a cookie, I say “Yes, after you have a healthy dinner.” When we are at a party, they can have one juice box (OK, sometimes two). I try to let them have one “treat” in a day. It’s an easy standard.

4. How to get what we need

  • Keep food simple and whole
  • Eat a variety of protein, starches, fruits and vegetables
  • For vegetables, think about the colors of the rainbow; the darker the better

Keeping your foods ‘whole’ means a minimum of processing. Think of some examples: baked potato vs potato chip. Apple vs applesauce. Sautéed chicken tender vs chicken nugget. Steamed spinach vs spinach pasta.

Every food we eat has something to offer but the more it’s “touched/processed”, the less value it has. To get the biggest bang for the buck, doing your own cooking is probably best. And be careful not to overcook it yourself. The more you cut and cook a raw vegetable, the less nutrients it will have. This is why steaming is best; when you boil a vegetable, some of the nutrients remain in the water.

5. How to make changes

Please don’t think you are a bad parent if you have ever given your child something you know that maybe isn’t that healthy for them. It’s very hard in today’s world where children are marketed to at a very young age.

6. Steps you can take:

  • Change what you keep in the house (we can help you with a pantry consultation and make over)
  • Read labels in the grocery store
  • Certain ingredients have been linked to diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol: high fructose corn syrup (spikes your blood sugar and offers no nutritional value) and partially hydrogenated fats and oils (clogs arteries and it’s hard for our bodies to process)
  • Buy products when on sale, join a buying club
  • Consider organic: no pesticides and not modified or processed

7. Change what you eat when you go out

  • Look for alternative choices (check to see if the restaurant participates in the Well Kiddos Program)
  • Consider an appetizer or sharing a grilled chicken sandwich
  • Avoid poor choices from some kid’s menus and go directly to the adult menu (ask for a smaller portion or split a dish)
  • Offer what you are eating to your kids
  • Look for sides and create a meal that your child likes.
  • Check a restaurant’s menu on the Internet before you go there
  • Role model for your child, ask for a salad and veggies
  • Ask for fruit instead of ice cream
  • Substitute and request what you want (i.e. grilled fish instead of fried)

8. Plan ahead so healthy snacks are handy

  • Fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, cheese cubes, celery sticks with ‘butter’  (i.e. freshly ground almond butter) of your choice, boiled egg

9. Strategies


  • Make sure the kids always eat something (proteins give energy early in the morning, smoothies are easy to make)
  • Keep grains whole and sugar to a minimum ( 6g or less per serving); they will have a better day at school


  • Keep processed food to a minimum (Look at the labels of what you are buying)
  • Make lunch the night before
  • Rotate sandwiches and snacks so they eat different things
  • Always include a fresh fruit and/or veggie
  • Look at what is in their lunch box when you pick them up
  • Try different things and keep a list of ideas – ask others what works well for them
  • Leave notes in the lunch box
  • Always have a stand-by lunch in case you are running late (pb &j, unsweetened applesauce, baby carrots, cheese cubes, pear slices)
  • Pack water in reusable bottles (i.e. Sigg, Kleen Kanteen)

Recipes can also be found at:

http://www.amythefamilychef.com http://thefamilychef.blogspot.com

So, kid’s nutrition (and ours) isn’t really hard. Keep it basic and tasty and you’ll sure to hit a home run!

Well Kiddos recommends these resources for parents:

  • Dr. Alan Greene:  “Feeding baby Green”
  • “Sugar-Free Toddlers: Over 100 Recipes” [Paperback]
    Susan Watson (Author), Sara Sloan (Author), Susan Williamson (Editor)
  • “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” [Hardcover]
    Michael Pollan (Author), Maira Kalman (Author)


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