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Grandparents Help Kids Develop Good Eating Habits

Posted by Trish (Oma) Britten, Nutritionist, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Grandchildren are a treasure.
Grandchildren are a treasure.

Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure.  From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver.  Show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices--an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren.

As a proud grandmother, I can attest that grandkids learn by example!  They mimic everything you do, so be a healthy role model by taking care of yourself and they will learn to value healthy habits.  Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to guide your food choices and better understand the nutrition needs of young children in your life.  Take your grandchildren shopping at a farmer’s market and the grocery store.  Talk about the choices you are making—choosing the juicier oranges or the fresher vegetables.  Help them learn cooking skills, which will benefit them throughout their lives. Encourage them to be active throughout the day.

Take time to share and listen to your grandchild – the time you spend together offers wonderful opportunities to understand one another.  Discuss likes and dislikes of different foods and talk about what they eat at school or at home.  Involve grandkids in selecting and preparing foods for meals, and offer the same foods to everyone.  Avoid making different dishes to please young, fussy eaters.  Offer snack foods that help meet their daily food group needs such as applesauce, baby carrots, string cheese, or 100% whole grain crackers.  Reward them with your attention.  Hugs are much better than sweet treats.

Spend time walking in the neighborhood, planting a vegetable garden, or shooting a few hoops.  Dance, run, and play hopscotch or soccer with them when they’re full of energy—it’s fun and healthy for both of you!

Show your grandchild games, activity sheets and other fun ways to learn about good nutrition at MyPlate Kids’ Place.  For a bedtime story, read The Two Bite Club

The US Department of Agriculture offers food assistance, nutrition education resources, and nutrition guidance for older adults and their grandkids.  Use the following resources to learn more:

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition