As the summer starts to wind down, the impending start of school looms around the corner. It may be a challenge to adjust back into the school day schedule for you and your child, but this could be a good time to consider your child’s health and look at ways to improve their eating habits or have them continue a healthy lifestyle now and in the future. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Have your picky eater be a produce picker.  Next time you are at the grocery store, try having your child choose something new. Maybe a funky looking squash or a fuzzy green kiwi. If they are the one making the choice, then they may be more inclined to try and eat it.

Let your child be your sous chef.  Get your child involved when making your next meal. Have them wash the vegetables, measure out seasonings, or even teach them to dice and chop if they are old enough. You may find that they are more interested in trying the dish that they personally helped to create.

Make healthy choices accessible.  Pretzels, chips and crackers might not be the healthiest of choices, but they are accessible. Sometimes, kids may not want to wash, peel or cut up the fruit and vegetables as it is just easier to open the bag of the other snacks. Prep your fruits and vegetables in advance so it is just as easy for them to grab the carrot sticks out of the container in the refrigerator, as it is to grab the crackers out of the box in cupboard. Consider making your own popcorn for a healthy whole grain snack. Many of these healthy choices will make easy after school snacks.

Limit screen time.  Limiting your child’s access to screen time could be a huge benefit to their health. Chances are, they are using computers and tablets at school now. It may be beneficial to limit access to TV, computers, tablets and smartphones at home and especially before bed. Find some fun hobbies or activities for them to get interested in.

Positive family time.  Here at Family Food, we believe that healthy food promotes healthy families, but it doesn’t start and end with the plate. Having the family sit down together at meal times, without distractions can encourage positive bonding experiences and more mindful eating habits. Try to keep conversation positive at the table and make the family dining experience an enjoyable one. Also, try family activities for positive family time in place of family movie nights. Things such as a pick up game of basketball or walks around a park can be just as enjoyable, but also keep your family active and fit.