Click on any of the 5 sections and you're on your way.

  • Start

    The first step to eating healthy is to learn what healthy looks like.

    THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR HEALTHIER EATING

    Simple
    Look for food with no added ingredients—like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. When it comes to boxed or canned foods, look for those with the fewest ingredients listed on the label. More ingredients often means extra fats, sugars, and salts.
    Low
    When choosing foods, you'll want to keep the concept of "low" in mind. For soups and canned beans and vegetables, look for options labeled low or reduced sodium. When looking at recipes, skip the ones that add a lot of butter, cheese, salt, or sugar. And try to avoid adding fat, salt, or sugar to your foods at the table.
    Color
    The more different colors you choose in your fruits and veggies, the more vitamins and nutrients you get.
  • Shop

    Once you know what you're looking for, it's time to plan your trip to the grocery store or a local farmers' market.

    TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR SHOPPING LIST

    Start with what you have

    Check your fridge, freezer, and cabinets. Plan meals that use what you already have in the house.

    Think about the fruits and veggies first

    Meals based around fruits and veggies are better for you—and better for your budget—than meat. Look at what's in season, what looks good, and what is on sale—and think of how you can base meals around these fruits and veggies.
    If—like many kids—your little ones don’t like a lot of different veggies, that’s okay. Look for recipes that feature the veggies they do like. And think about introducing small amounts of new veggies here and there for all of you to try together.
    Remember just because you or your children do not like a fruit or veggie at first, you may after trying it a few times or prepared different ways. Try to make it fun—pick out new items in the store together, get a small amount, and see what you all think! Make a note of what you liked or would try again so you remember to buy it another time.

    FIND WAYS TO KEEP YOUR FRUIT FRESHER LONGER

    If you find yourself often throwing out fruit that goes bad before your family can eat it, try these tips:

    > Buy lots of apples. They’re tasty whole or sliced, plain or with peanut butter, cheese, or other toppings. And they stay fresh longer than most other fruits!

    > Buy a mix of ripe and unripe fruit (like melons and bananas) at the store. The harder a fruit feels, and the greener it looks, the less ripe it is. When planning your meals, plan to use the ripest fruits first while the others ripen..

    > Buy your berries frozen, with no added sugar. Thaw a handful at a time for snacks or side dishes. Or let the kids enjoy them as frozen treats!

    Look up budget-friendly recipes

    Good food can be expensive—and most families struggle to eat well without breaking the bank.
    There are lots of sites with healthy, low-cost recipes. Try Food Hero or Spend Smart Eat Smart for ideas. Get your family in on the fun by asking them to rate new meals on a scale of 1 to 5. When you find a recipe that your family rates a 3 or above, keep it on hand for future meal planning!

    Plan for 5-6 meals with extra for leftovers

    Between homework, baths, and all the other things parents juggle each night, getting dinner cooked can be a real challenge.
    By cooking in larger batches, you can stretch 1 night of cooking into 2 dinners—and give yourself breaks during the week with nights of heating up leftovers. This is especially helpful if you work nights, so you can leave older kids or babysitters a quick, easy way to feed the kids.
    As a bonus, buying ingredients in larger quantities can also save you money.

    KEEP EASY-TO-COOK STAPLE FOODS TO MAKE MEALTIME SIMPLE

    Buy extras of budget-friendly foods that you can use regularly and that keep on the shelf when they're on sale—like rice, dry beans, peanut butter, canned soup, and canned or frozen vegetables. Having staples of these easy-to-cook foods can help make mealtime simple.

    Healthy in a Snap - Kitchen Guide

    Download our kitchen guide for tips on how to get kids involved in food prep and how to prep frozen meals:

    Download

  • Store

    Once you get your healthy food home, it's time to store it and prepare it so your family can enjoy tasty—and healthy—meals and snacks.

    HOW TO STORE YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES

    apple

    Apple

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW unwrapped

    time 3 weeks

    onion

    Onion

    WHERE dark pantry

    HOW unwrapped

    time 1-2 months

    banana

    Banana

    WHERE countertop

    HOW unwrapped

    time 3 days once ripe

    broccoli

    Broccoli

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW wrapped in plastic

    time 5 days

    tomatoes

    Tomatoes

    WHERE countertop

    HOW unwrapped

    time 5 days

    carrots

    Carrots

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW plastic bag

    time 3 weeks

    grapes

    Grapes

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW perforated plastic bag

    time 1-2 weeks

    Celery

    Celery

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW wrapped in foil

    time 2 weeks

    berries

    Berries

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW uncovered, vented container

    time 3-5 days

    head of lettuce

    Lettuce

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW plastic bag with dry paper towel

    time 5 days

    cucumber

    Cucumber

    WHERE refrigerator drawer

    HOW wrapped in plastic

    time 1 week

    potatoes

    Potatoes

    WHERE dark pantry

    HOW paper bag

    time 1-2 months


  • Prep

    Remember, veggies taste the best when they're cooked for the right amount of time—not too crunchy and not too soft. And fruits are the easiest to eat when prepared in bite-size and simple ways.

    Here are some quick tips for getting your family
    to eat more fruits and veggies:

    Veggies On-The-Go

    Cut up a bunch of raw veggies (like peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, or broccoli) and keep them in the fridge for quick snacks.

    Veggies & Dip After School

    If getting a healthy dinner full of vegetables your kids will eat on the table every night is causing stress, try being flexible. It doesn’t matter when your kids eat their veggies—as long as they get them in every day!

    One of the best times to encourage veggies is when kids are at their hungriest. Try putting out a plate of cut-up vegetables with a healthy dip right before the kids come home from school. Offering up veggies as the first option when they walk through the door hungry can help make them more appealing. And pairing them with a tasty, kid-friendly dip can do wonders.

    Try these recipes for 2 dips that kids love—honey mustard and ranch!

    Healthy honey mustard dip

    (from the National Institutes of Health)

    Healthy ranch dip recipe

    (from FoodHero.org)


    Sneak Veggies Into a Smoothie

    Kids love smoothies! And they’re super simple to make. Just toss some frozen fruit and a cup of low-fat milk in the blender for a delicious, healthy snack, dessert, or even breakfast.

    As a bonus: If your kids love their fruits—but not their veggies—smoothies are the perfect way to sneak in some healthy greens. Toss in a handful of spinach or kale, a few slices of avocado, or half a cup of frozen peas and let the sweet taste of berries hide your healthy addition.

    Try this healthy smoothie recipe from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Spice It Up

    Get creative with healthy seasonings—like basil, thyme, and oregano—to make veggies tasty without adding salt or fats.

    Add A Choice of 2 Sides Of Veggies

    Steam 2 different options of fresh or frozen vegetables as a quick side dish to your dinner. Just put veggies in a bowl, add a small amount of water, cover, and microwave for a few minutes.

    Then ask the kids which veggies they’d prefer on their plate. Giving them an option helps make them feel in control—and that often encourages them to choose to eat more.

    Stir Things Up

    Use up leftover veggies at the end of each week in a Stir-Fry.

    Try this recipe from FoodHero.org.
    (It takes just 10 minutes to prep—and 10 minutes to cook.)


    Fast Fruit

    Wash grapes and place in individual baggies or small containers in the fridge for quick, grab-and-go snacks.

    For The Sweet Tooth

    Serve fruit (sliced melon or strawberries) for a sweet and healthy dessert. And remember, frozen berries are a great option if you’re worried about fruit going bad too quickly.

    Broccoli
    (cut into florets)

    Stir-Fry 3-4 minutes
    Steamed 5-6 minutes
    Microwave 2-3 minutes

    Carrots
    (sliced)

    Stir-Fry 3-4 minutes
    Steamed 4-5 minutes
    Microwave 4-5 minutes

    Corn
    (on the Cob)

    Stir-Fry not recommended
    Steamed 4-7 minutes
    Microwave 1-2 minutes

    Zucchini
    (sliced)

    Stir-Fry 3-4 minutes
    Steamed 4-6 minutes
    Microwave 2-3 minutes

    Peas
    (shelled)

    Stir-Fry 2-3 minutes
    Steamed 4-5 minutes
    Microwave 2-3 minutes

    Green Beans
    (chopped or whole)

    Stir-Fry 3-4 minutes
    Steamed 5-8 minutes
    Microwave 3-4 minutes

    Spinach
    (chopped or whole)

    Stir-Fry 3 minutes
    Steamed 5-6 minutes
    Microwave 1-2 minutes

    Potatoes
    (cut into chunks)

    Stir-Fry not recommended
    Steamed 10-12 minutes
    Microwave 6-8 minutes
    Healthy in a Snap - Kitchen Guide

    Download our kitchen guide for tips on how to get kids involved in food prep and how to prep frozen meals:

    Download

  • Eat

    As the adult in charge, you play a big role in sending positive messages to your kids about physical activity and eating healthy. But being a healthy role model can feel overwhelming sometimes.

    Try these simple steps to help give your kids a good example without stressing yourself out:

    Try new healthy foods

    Your kids learn their eating habits from watching you. Do your best to let them see you eat more fruits and veggies—and they will too! Try new foods together. Tell your children what you thought when you first tried something they are trying for the first time. Maybe you did not like it but do now, or maybe they like something you don’t. If you have funny story about trying a healthy food for the first time – tell them. It is good to let them know that it is ok to have different tastes and to know our tastes change over time.

    Stay positive

    When talking to your kids about healthy eating, remember to stay positive. Try to avoid talking about dieting or losing weight. Instead, talk about how great exercise and eating well makes you feel.

    Make time for family meals

    Regular family meals are a great opportunity to spend time with your family. Set up regular meal times as often as you can. Make it a happy time by talking to your kids about their day and learning about new foods.

    Healthy in a Snap - Kitchen Guide

    Download our kitchen guide for tips on how to get kids involved in food prep and how to prep frozen meals:

    Download
  • Resources