Feed a Healthy Family Campaign

Feed a Healthy Family Campaign

Mealtime Boundaries

Division of Responsible Eating

The caregiver decides what foods are served and where the child eats. The child decides what to eat from the plate and how much to eat. It is not the caregiver’s job to cater to the child’s every food desire. Catering to the child’s requests will discourage them from trying new foods. It is imperative for the child to try various foods in this stage to gain needed nutrients and expand their comfort level around different flavors, smells, textures, and appearances.

Stick to a Feeding Schedule

By the time a child reaches one to two years old, they should consume 3 meals and two to three snacks a day. Setting a schedule creates a predictable routine that kids can rely on as they learn to listen to hunger and fullness cues. A schedule reduces grazing on snack foods and sugary drinks between meals. Grazing can displace healthful foods and dull hunger and fullness cues.

Serve the Foods You Want Your Child to Eat

Only serving liked foods will increase picky eating. Persistent exposure to new foods is key to becoming familiar with new foods and eventually trying them. Do pair an enjoyed or ‘safe’ food with new foods. To summarize, don’t become a short-order cook for your child.

Serve the Right Amount

Caregivers often over-estimate the amount of food a child needs. Large portions can become overwhelming, especially with foods that aren’t favorite foods. Additionally, consistently larger portions sizes can lead to over-eating. The amount of food a child eats will vary daily depending on physical activity, growth, sleep, and appetite.

Make Food Fun

Food play with fun utensils, silly shapes, and bright containers can grab attention at the table. Have the child help cook or plant in the garden. The more exposure to different foods, colors, textures, and smells, the less scary these foods become.

Positive food talk

How to Talk Food with Kids

“Clean your plate“ and “finish xyz if you want dessert” are common phrases in many households. Phrases like these are commonly used with good intention to encourage children, but often end up creating pressure and tension around feeding. The words and phrases used around feeding can have a lasting impact on a child’s relationship with food and the emotions and habits they associate with food.

The ability to sense hunger and fullness is innate in everyone. When a child overrides these bodily signals due to pressure feeding, the signals become less clear and are eventually dulled enough that they are no longer recognized. Grazing (frequent snacking) between meals can dampen hunger and fullness cues, increase picky eating, and displace more healthful foods at mealtime. Pressure feeding can also worsen picky eating. Instead, try pairing a new food with a favorite or ‘safe’ food. Persistent exposure is key as it can take 20 or more exposures to a food before a toddler will accept it.

When mealtime becomes a stressful battle between the will of the caregiver and the will of the child, a negative relationship develops. By setting a good example through sitting down at the table, eating together, and establishing a structure of three meals and 2-3 snacks a day, the caregiver can shape a child’s food habits.

Follow the points outlined in the Division of Responsibility in Feeding– It is the caregiver’s responsibility to provide healthy meals and determine when and where to serve them. It is the child’s job to determine what foods are eaten and how much.

energy ball bats

Adapted from annabelkarmel.com |  Makes 20 Energy Balls

    • 7 oz. pitted dates
    • 3.4 oz. hot water
    • 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
    • 3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
    • 1.5 oz. unsweetened, grated coconut
    • 3.5 oz. rolled oats
    • 1.5 oz. raisins
    • 1 oz. chopped pecans
    • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
    • 1 oz. Rice Krispies
    • Extra, unsweetened,
    • grated coconut Cocoa powder
    • Chocolate sprinkles
    • White chocolate chips
    • Black icing pen
    • Oreo cookies


  1.      Measure the dates and water, pour into a small saucepan. Cover and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Take pan off the burner. 
  2.      Tip into a food processor. Whiz until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until finely chopped.
  3.     Shape into 20 balls.
  4.     Roll one third into coconut, one third into cocoa powder and one third into chocolate sprinkles.
  5.     Make eyes out of white chocolate chips and eyeballs from the black icing pen.
  6.     Twist an Oreo cookie in half and scrape away the filling. Break the cookie in half to make 2 wings and insert into the side of the energy ball. Break small pieces of cookie to make the noses.

Fruit Salad with Chia Yogurt Dressing

Adapted From: copymethat.com  | Servings: 4 Nutrition per serving: 223 calories, 31.5g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 8g fat, 8g protein

Turn to fruit and vegetable centered dishes to help stay hydrated this summer season. The water content of fruit can be as high as 90 percent making it a valuable source of hydration. Although low in calories, fruits are sources of many essential nutrients including potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Potassium rich fruits help to maintain healthy blood pressure and includes bananas, oranges, grapefruit, and cantaloupe. Fiber, found in apples, bananas, strawberries, and raspberries to name a few, helps reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C is important for healing body tissues and wounds and for keeping teeth and gums healthy. It’s recommended to consume food sources of vitamin C found at high levels in citrus fruits, kiwi, cantaloupe, and pineapple. 

Fruit can add healthy sweetness to your diet while delivering beneficial nutrients to your whole body. This recipe pairs a variety of fruit with avocado, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds to pack the traditional fruit salad with protein and fat to keep you satisfied.

    • 1 grapefruit
    • 1 pear
    • 1 orange
    • 1 avocado
    • 1 mango
    • 10 strawberries
    • ½ lemon, juice squeezed
    • ¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup chia seeds


  1.      Wash, peel, core, remove seeds (if necessary) and cut each fruit into bite sized pieces. Add everything to a bowl.
  2.      To make the dressing, whisk together Greek yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and chia seeds in a separate bowl. Mix just enough to combine ingredients and pour over the fruits. Serve chilled.
  3.     Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Stir gently before serving to lift the juices from the bottom of the bowl.

Tuna Salad Cucumber Boats

Adapted from emilykylenutrition.com | 2 Servings

Enjoy a lighter side to the classic tuna salad sandwich by swapping cucumber boats for the bread and adding Greek yogurt into the mix! Try these tuna salad cucumber boats to have a lunch rich in omega 3 fatty acids to promote joint health.

    • 2 medium cucumbers
    • 2 cans wild-caught albacore tuna in water, drained
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    •  ½ cup white onion, diced
    •  ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise with olive oil
    • 1 tsp yellow mustard
    • ⅛ tsp sea salt
    • ⅛ tsp black pepper

Optional Toppings

Sliced tomatoes, feta cheese, or fresh herbs


  1. Slice the cucumbers down the middle length wise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and insides.
  2. Discardthe scooped seeds and set cucumbers aside. 
  3. Addthetuna to a large bowl. Use a fork to gently mash the tuna until flaked. 
  4. Addthecelery, onion,Greek yogurt, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.
  5. Mashall the ingredients together with a fork until everything is mixed well. 
  6. Scoopyourfreshtunasalad mixtureintoeach cucumberhalf.
  7. Top with sliced tomatoes, feta cheese, or fresh herbs and enjoy!

Cinnamon Oat Baked Apples

From: iheartnaptime.net | Servings: 4 Nutrition per serving: 161 calories, 33g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 19g sugar, 4g fat, 2g protein

Did you know that fiber provides fuel for our good gut bacteria? This keeps the digestive system functioning properly by improving bowel health and moving content through the digestive tract. Fiber may also play a role in preventing diseases of the colon. The combination of apples and oats makes this recipe a high source of fiber because it contains above the recommended minimum of 5g of fiber per serving. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for 38 grams per day. 

Special Ingredient Note: When it comes to sweeteners, date sugar is a great option. Unlike other sugars, date sugar comes from whole dried dates that are pulverized into sugar. It’s the only sugar that comes from a whole food which means it retains its fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Not only will date sugar sweeten up this delicious treat, it will also provide you with extra fiber to satisfy your gut!

    • 4 medium apples
    • ½ cup old fashioned oats
    • 2 tablespoons chopped or crushed pecans (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons date sugar
    • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • ¼ cup water


  1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats and pecans (if using) with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Spread out on a baking sheet in a thin layer and bake for 4-6 minutes until golden and toasted. Remove and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  2.      Rinse and core the apples, but make sure not to cut through the bottom of the apple. You can use an apple corer or a paring knife. Make sure seeds are removed as well (scoop out with spoon).
  3.     In a bowl, combine oat mixture with date sugar, yogurt, melted butter, and cinnamon. Spoon mixture into the cavity of each apple. Place apples in an 8×8 inch baking dish. Pour water in the bottom of the dish.
  4.      Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until tender (not mushy). Top with whipped cream or more Greek yogurt and serve.

Better Bites

Food preferences in childhood can influence food choices into adulthood. Foods that are nutrient-dense provide needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimal health. Energydense foods are often full of added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

The combination of sugary, salty, and high-fat foods is more easily over-consumed because they have a high-reward response in the brain and lack fiber and protein that help signal fullness. Therefore, the over-consumption of energy-dense snack foods can lead to over-eating and the development of unhealthy eating patterns. Conversely, if snack foods consist of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy (without added sugar), they can add nutrient-dense energy to the diet and help lay the foundation for healthy eating patterns.

Here are some kid-approved, nutrient-dense snack ideas for better bites every day.

› Plain yogurt topped with berries and a drizzle of honey

› Smoothie with milk, frozen berries or mango, ripe banana, spinach, and chia seeds 

› Nut butter and apple (or celery, dates, pears, banana, etc.) 

› Hummus with broccoli and carrots or whole grain crackers 

› Whole grain bread PB & J and a mandarin

Film a Food Demo with Kids
Pizza Night

Engage your kids in cooking by filming a Food Demo to send to family and friends. Use the recipe and direction below to make a memorable pizza night! 


 Cutting board + knife Kids-safe if available

Cheese grater

Prep bowls for toppings

Rolling pin

Pizza pan or rimmed baking sheets

Pizza cutter or knife

Serving platter or board


 1 (14-to 16- ounce) ball of pizza dough- room temp

1 ½ cups marinara sauce, pizza sauce, or pesto

6 oz cheese, grated or cut into ½ inch cubes

Toppings of choice

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

Condiments for serving, if desired (ranch, hot sauce, parmesan, etc.)


1. Introduce Yourself & Helpers

     › Cutting board + knife Kids-safe if available

     › Cheese grater

2. Explain the recipe and all the ingredients you’ve chose to use.

Q : Does anyone know where pizza originally comes from?
A : Italy, modern pizza was invented in Naples.


We are making small pizza’s today. People who make pizza are called pizzaiolo!

3.Pre-heat the oven to 500 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.

4.Prep toppings while the oven pre-heats. Children can help cut with kids-safe knives or help place chopped toppings into bowls. Place in small bowls or in piles on platter.

Q : Have you tried bell peppers?


Bell peppers are red, yellow, or green and have a small, sweet taste. They are crunchy. Red foods give you a strong heart. Yellow foods help your body heal. Green foods help you fight off disease. 

5.Cut dough into 4-equal sized pieces. Give a piece of dough to each person and let them roll, pinch, or press out into a 6-to 8-inch circle. Try not to over-work dough or it will become tough.

Pizza dough is made from flour from the wheat plant. It gives us energy. 

It is also made with yeast. Yeast is an organism that is alive and helps dough rise through releasing carbon dioxide bubbles into the dough. How does the dough feel? Smell? 

6.Get to topping! Place two dough rounds on each baking sheet and let each person spoon 2-3 spoons of sauce onto dough and spread to edges.

7.Each person can sprinkle cheese over the sauce.

Q : Do you have a favorite cheese? 


Cheese has protein and calcium that helps us grow strong muscles and bones. 

8.Have each person place small pinches of ingredients onto their dough.

Makepizza faces with desired toppings, this will help prevent over-loading the pizza (which leads to soggy crust). 

9.Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating half-way through, until the crust is golden, and the cheese begins to bubble and brown in spots.

10.Remove from oven. Drizzle each with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing. If the kids are impatient, have them help set the table with plates and napkins, or help clean up the kitchen.

11.Serve pizza alone or with condiment sauce of choice. Enjoy!

Taste Test Questions

Wrap up your food demo with a taste test! Ask your helper the following questions.

Q: What do you think of your pizza?
Q: Do you have a favorite topping?
Q: How would you top your pizza next time?

Feed a

Help nurture a positive
relationship with food by
participating in this 4-week
health & wellness campaign!

Campaign Overview

Week 1    Building a Healthy Relationship with Food

Week 2    Pressure Feeding

Week 3    Finding Food Balance

Week 4    Snacks & Drinks

How It Works

  1.      The Feed a Healthy Family Campaign is designed to help caregivers establish healthy eating habits and create a positive feeding relationship with children. During this campaign you will learn how to model and encourage healthful eating patterns, reduce mealtime stress, introduce positive language around food, and manage picky eating.
  2.      You will have a tracking sheet that includes weekly prompts to complete. Weekly materials include a 10-minute videos, educational flyers, and challenges. 
  3.     At the end of this campaign, turn in your completed tracking sheet to your program facilitator and names will be drawn for a wellness prize!
  4.      At the end of the Feed a Healthy Family Campaign, please take a moment to write a testimonial or provide feedback. We love to hear feedback and success stories!

Cook with Kids Challenge

The goal of this challenge is to get children involved with food preparation in the kitchen. Even if the caregiver isn’t an avid cook, preparing snacks or simple meals together can reduce picky eating, increase trying new foods, and help foster a healthy relationship with food between the caregiver and the child.

Get kids in the kitchen to help prepare meals. Involving kids in the cooking process increases their exposure to new foods, increasing familiarization. Most toddlers are afraid of new foods, so increasing exposure will help familiarize them so they can gain the confidence to try new foods. Making food fun with bright utensils and plates, silly shapes, and fun colors can also encourage kids to try new foods. 

Sense of taste changes throughout childhood. Taste is influenced by genetics, learned preferences, and positive associations through environmental exposure. Rewarding or pressure feeding around certain foods, like vegetables, decreases children’s liking for those foods. The two strongest predictors of young children’s taste preferences are familiarity and sweetness. Caregivers should persistently introduce foods throughout childhood because taste changes with growth, development, and consistent exposure to various foods. 

Let’s Talk Food

Use the following questions to get children talking about the food you’re making together.

Is the food salty, sweet, or spicy? Does it taste like something else you’ve tried before?

Is the food crunchy (smooth, lumpy)? Does your mouth feel dry or wet as you chew it?

What color is the food? Does the food remind you of something?

What sounds does the food make when you squash it? Is there a sizzle when it cooks?

Is the food smelly, kind of smelly, or not smelly? Is the smell sweet, spicy, earthy?

Does the food feel hot, kind of hot, cold, or really cold? Does it feel the same temperature as your mouth?



For one week, involve your child in cooking meals and preparing treats or snacks. Track every time your child helps in the kitchen in the tracker below.

For kid-friendly recipes, check out Food Network’s Cooking with Kids.

Pizza Night Food Demo!

Create a food demo with your child –record it and send it to friends and family. Check out Film a Food Demo with Kids for directions on making a pizza night food demo.









10 points

5 points Each

2 points

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