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Eat the Rainbow: 5 Colorful Ways to Raise a Healthier Eater

Eat the Rainbow: 5 Colorful Ways to Raise a Healthier Eater

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When it comes to tasty snacks, a bag of chips typically trumps broccoli—especially for kids (well, at least we tell ourselves that part!). How can you help your little ones, and yourself, get the nutrition they need? Start by showing them how food is actually fuel, and then offer a colorful challenge: Try to “eat the rainbow” every day.

Check out these 5 fun ideas:

1. LOOK INSIDE AND OUT

Relate the benefits to their bodies to help kids understand why it’s good to eat certain foods instead of others. Here are some head-to-toe advantages of different colored fruits and veggies.

  • Red: Keeps your heart strong
  • Orange: Keeps your eyes healthy
  • Yellow: Keeps you from getting sick
  • Green: Makes your bones and teeth strong
  • Blue/Purple: Helps your memory

2. GET YOUR GAME ON

Create a colorful chart or rainbow picture, and kids can mark off or fill in the colors they’ve eaten that day. See if they can do an entire month of eating the rainbow. Better yet, join in the fun and get the whole family on board.

3.WALK THE TALK

Telling them why certain foods are better is just the first step. Set a good example and eat the foods you want your kids to eat. Try to avoid getting in the habit of preparing a separate “kids meal”—healthy choices can be just as convenient, and even tastier, for everyone!

4. START WITH DIPS

Flavorful dips make fruits and veggies a treat to eat, and they can be a great way to ease kids into better choices. Try low-fat yogurt for berries and bananas, peanut butter for sliced apples, and hummus or low-fat ranch dressing for sliced bell peppers and carrots.

5. PREP TOGETHER

Kids are more likely to try a new meal or snack if they helped make it. Teach them basic kitchen skills from washing to mixing to cutting, depending on their age. Kids tend to be hands-on helpers by nature.

Chop and Go!

Here’s a list of kitchen tasks that your kids can help with…be creative and keep it fun. It’s a great teaching opportunity, and the lessons will last a lifetime.

SAFETY NOTE: Adult supervision is always necessary when teaching cutting skills. Age recommendations are approximate and should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • LITTLE SOUS CHEFS: Toddlers can tear lettuce for salads, and preschoolers and young cooks ages 3 to 8 can help mix, measure and slice soft fruit and vegetables with a butter knife.
  • NEXT LEVEL LEARNING: Have kids practice with easy-to-chop items and a smaller knife first. Kids 9 and up can help trim produce with a paring knife, under your supervision. When you feel they’re ready, work their way up to a chef’s knife for slicing fruits and vegetables. CHICAGO CUTLERY® VIVID™ LINE is a great way to stick with the rainbow theme.
  • C IS FOR CONTROL: When teaching kids to use a knife, first explain the “claw hand,” which is also known as making a “C” with the hand holding the vegetable (or other item). They should grip the veggie with knuckles facing out in order to protect their fingertips.
  • BOARDING SCHOOL: Always secure your cutting board and place a damp paper towel under it so it can’t slip. Use oversized cutting boards to give your child enough room to work.

Encouraging kids to make healthier eating choices is easier when you make it fun and get them involved. Just add color and watch them bloom!

YOUR TURN: At what age did you (or would you) start teaching your kids basic knife skills?