Give Eating Right a Green Light

Having trouble getting your kids to eat right?  If kids see their parents eating healthy foods, then they are more likely to indulge in fruits and vegetables too. The key is to focus on nutrient-rich foods and avoid empty calories. 

Many dietitians favor splitting foods into green light, yellow light and red light groups. Try putting green light foods within kids’ easy reach.

Green light foods: High-nutrition, low-fat, low- or moderate-calorie foods kids can eat often: celery, carrots, broccoli, apples, low-fat yogurt, multigrain pretzels.

Yellow light foods: Nutritious but higher-fat or calorie foods that must be eaten in moderation: meats, enriched breads and pasta, full-fat cheese.

Red light foods: Foods with no nutritional value, like cookies and candy, that you should save for special treats.

Other tips:

  • Trust that when kids are hungry enough, they’ll eat the healthy options you serve.
  • Don’t use sweets to reward or punish kids.
  • Set a good example for kids by eating well.
  • Encourage kids to eat at normal meal times.
  • Develop a “try it” rule for new foods.

For more “healthful” tips from the experts at CHOC Children’s, check out the latest edition of Kids Health magazine at or click here:

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