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Making Food Fun

Some simple ways to make breakfast, lunch and snacks more healthful, creative and fun

Children often win the battle when it comes to food. You don’t want them to eat foods that are high in sugar, fat or calories, but there are some days that you want them to just eat something... anything.

“You can win children over to healthier eating with some simple, creative strategies,” says Kristin Gustashaw, MS, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “One thing is to get them more involved in the process, so that they can see the value of making healthy food decisions.”

“You still may find yourself compromising at times,” Gustashaw says. “But make it a good compromise — something you’re comfortable with. Like having healthy whole grain cereals make the bulk of a breakfast with a couple teaspoons of their favorite sugary cereal added as a topping or garnish. Often times it’s not about forbidding certain foods, it’s more about consuming them in moderation.”

Having Fun
The kids aren’t the only ones you’re up against. You’re also fighting advertisers and marketers whose job it is to win their consumers over with fun and entertaining food choices. “This is why it helps to add some creativity and fun with food at home,” says Gustashaw.

Some ideas for adding fun to food:

  • Have fun with meals
    • Cut food into fun and different shapes
    • Make little animals or buildings with common foods
    • Use cookie cutters to make your own interesting designs in breads
    • Teach kids to make their own appetizers
    • Plan a meal around a particular country’s cuisine
  • Children can research the country
  • Decorate the table using themes from their research
  • Make homemade placemats
  • Use foods to create designs — for example, use raisins and fruit to make faces on top of oatmeal
  • Be creative decorating lunch bags — let kids express themselves with nontoxic crayons and markers
  • Have fun creating your own trail mix — kids can experiment with different taste combinations and maybe even add a sparing amount of candy for color
  • Buy sandwich bags with characters on them
  • Write little notes and include them with your child’s lunch

"Probably the best lesson that kids will learn is that you can have fun and be healthy at the same time," says Gustashaw.

Read "Making Good Choices: Setting the Stage for Healthy Eating" for more ideas on educating your children about nutrition.

Read “Making Good Choices: Setting the Stage for Healthy Eating” for more ideas on educating your children about nutrition.

More Information at Your Fingertips:

  • For more information about nutritional services at Rush visit ourFood and Nutritional Services home page.
  • Looking for a dietitian? Call (312) 942-DIET (3438)
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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Nutrition Services at
Rush University Medical Center

Eating well is key to staying well, so Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, offers many nutrition-related services. These include:

Nutrition and Wellness Center
Our team of nutrition experts can help you achieve your goals, including losing weight, increasing energy, lowering blood cholesterol and living a healthier life.

Nutrition Clinic
Registered dietitians use state-of-the-art methods to analyze nutrient content of food intake, assess baseline caloric needs, measure body fat percentage and help patients comply with diets.

Nutrition Consultation Service
Services include nutritional assessment, enteral and parenteral nutrition therapy and indirect calorimetry. Clinical staff members are experienced in nutritional management of bone marrow transplant, surgical, gastroenterological and critically ill patients of all ages. This service is staffed by a multidisciplinary nutrition support team consisting of registered dietitians and pharmacists. The team is co-directed by a registered dietitian and a physician.

For more information about nutrition services at Rush visit our Food and Nutrition Services home page.

Looking for Other Health Information?

Visit Discover Rush’s Web Resource page to find articles on health topics and recent health news from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. You will also find many helpful links to other areas of our site.

Looking for a Doctor?

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is a leader in caring for people of all ages, from newborns through older adults.

Just phone (888) 352-RUSH or (888) 352-7874 for help finding the Rush doctor who’s right for you.


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Discover Rush, 2006 - Fall
Childhood Nutrition
Making Good Choices: Setting the Stage for Healthy Eating

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