Helping Kids to Eat Healthy

Helping kids to eat healthy foods can be tough. Between picky eaters and busy schedules, there may not always be time for well-rounded meals. Take it slow, read through our tips, and make healthy eating a fun family goal.

Children’s nutrition is not much different from adults. We all need protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables to eat a healthy diet. It’s important to make healthy swaps when you can, like swapping full fat dairy for low- or non-fat dairy. Eliminate soda and drink water and small amounts of juice instead.

Try to limit added sugar, sodium, and trans fats. Artificial trans fats are made from “partially hydrogenated oil”, which increases cholesterol, risk of heart disease, and risk of type 2 diabetes. These ingredients are often found in processed foods and snacks, like chips and cookies. Check the nutritional labels on your food to ensure you’re not overdoing it on artificial fats. These offer lots of calories, but little nutritional value.

Treats are good in moderation, but the bulk of your child’s food should be nutritious. Trade the chips for veggies and dip, and the cookies for pieces of fruit or yogurt and granola. Including your child when you buy, cook, and prepare foods can help them learn to eat healthy and have fun working with you too. Explain to your children why you choose certain foods and the good things they do for your body.

MyPlate, the national source for nutritional guidelines, provides online games, e-books, and activities to help your children better understand nutrition. Kids | MyPlate

Here’s a printable worksheet called Grocery Store Bingo, to help your child identify healthy foods while at the store. MyPlate Bingo (

Here is a list provided by the USDA of several kid focused nutrition lessons with games, quizzes, and many more resources. Kids’ Corner |

There’s also kid friendly recipes online, to help incorporate healthier choices. This is a tater tot recipe that uses sweet potatoes and chickpeas to boost vegetable intake in a tasty and recognizable way. TastyTotsCACFPhomerecipe_0.pdf (

These “porcupine sliders” use lean protein and whole grains, while still looking appetizing. PorcupineSlidersCACFPhomerecipe.pdf ( More of these recipes can be found here: Recipe Search | and here: Recipes for Healthy Kids: Cookbook for Homes | USDA-FNS.

You can also visit our healthy eating guide on our website, to make budget friendly choices that support a nutritious diet. Every attempt to eat healthier and include more fruits and vegetables is a good one.

A well-rounded diet helps kids in many ways – by enhancing sleep, increasing their ability to do well in school and improving their mood and energy levels. Learning healthy habits now increases children’s chances of becoming healthy adults. Contact our Clinic at (540) 459-1700 if you’d like to make a medical appointment to get more information about helping kids to eat healthy and live a wellness lifestyle.

Help Prevent Cavities Throughout a Child’s Life

What is a low-cost, easy way to prevent cavities and help ensure a healthy smile for your child for years to come? Dental sealants! They are safe and painless. Made from medical grade resin, sealant thinly coats the teeth without penetrating the enamel. This coating prevents food and bacterial residue from creating decay in the teeth, particularly molars. The American Dental Association reports that sealants can reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. Less than half of children in the United States have sealants, although they are a great prevention tool.

Applying sealant as soon as your child’s molars come in can protect them for up to ten years. If the sealant is properly maintained and redone throughout adulthood, cavities can in fact be prevented for a lifetime. In the case of existing cavities, sealants can help prevent further damage and decay. To maintain sealants, regular dental hygiene should be practiced. Brushing twice a day and consistent flossing will increase the longevity and efficacy of sealants.

Is It Necessary? 

It is important to prevent cavities, and to treat cavities in children quickly, even if they’re not causing pain. On average, children with neglected oral health receive lower grades and miss more school. If left untreated, cavities can interfere with everyday activities such as eating, drinking, playing and talking. Untreated cavities can lead to other oral illnesses, like gum disease or tooth infection. Dental health affects the rest of the body. Poor dental health can increase risk for respiratory disease, and lead to pneumonia. Multiple chronic illnesses have been linked to oral health.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

What better time to instill the importance of good oral hygiene in your little ones than Children’s Dental Month? Regular checkups should be scheduled, especially for children. Establishing good hygiene habits and monitoring dental health can prevent a lifetime of pain, procedures, and health issues. Daily use of fluoride mouthwash, flossing, and brushing teeth are important to maintaining oral health. Healthy teeth are associated with increased self-esteem, especially in adolescents.  It can be difficult to guide and encourage children to take care of their teeth, but the benefits are hefty.

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Get in touch! We can work out an affordable plan for preventing and treating cavities for your child.