Family Dinner at Home Can Lead to Smarter Lunches at School

Schools across the country are making strides to help kids eat healthier meals. Kansas, for example, recently took advantage of a federal grant in order to implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which aims to make federally subsidized school lunches more nutritious. As these better lunch programs begin, many schools are finding that kids who aren’t used to whole grains, fruits and vegetablesaren’t enjoying the new options.

To take full advantage of changes being made at school, students need to start with a firm foundation at home. Introducing kids to foods they’ve never tried before may seem like a daunting task, but getting into a weekly routine of cooking and eating together can help diversify their palate and spark their interest in new ingredients.

When Kids Cook Monday blogger School-Bites noticed that her young son was starting to crave processed snacks instead of fresh fruits and veggies, she took action by involving him in family meal planning and preparation. With a bit recipe searching, grocery shopping, fun food games and some time in the kitchen, School-Bites is helping her son build a lifetime of better habits!

Does your child shy away from healthy foods? Here are some tips you can try to improve their diet at home and at school:

Start with a meal idea- Let your child lend a hand when selecting a recipe and ingredients. Bring them along when you head to your local store or farmers market.

Add your kids to the mix– Introduce your children to the kitchen and help them feel like they belong by giving them specific recipe tasks, their own utensils, or a special work station.

Get into a groove- Starting the week with Kids Cook Monday will help your family ease back into their school routine and health habits after the weekend. Plus, Monday meals give you 52 opportunities a year to engage your kids.

Have fun with your food- Try nutrition games, theme nights, interesting shapes or tasty dips—whatever gets your and your family excited about whole foods.

Stay positive- Model healthy habits for your kids, rather than making a fuss over what they will and won’t eat. You may have to introduce children to a new food several times before they are willing to try it, so be persistent without putting on the pressure.

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