On Canada AM: How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy March 29 2012, 2 Comments

It’s the one thing most families have in common: the desire to make mealtime healthy and stress-free. For me, it all boils down to one simple idea: Have fun enjoying colorful meals together. I had a great time with the morning crew at Canada AM, sharing my simple tips for getting your whole family eating healthy. Here’s the scoop: 

Jennifer Tyler LeeTips for Fun and Healthy Eating with Kids

1)   Focus on colors. Nutritionists and healthy eating experts are talking a lot about "plant-based diets." An easy way to make that change simple and fun for kids is to focus on eating colors. Green broccoli, red tomatoes, purple cauliflower -- the more colors on your plate the better! This works for kids because as one Crunch a Color™ fan raved, "It speaks their language!"

2)   Make it fun. This simple idea is at the core of why Crunch a Color™ works. The key to getting kids (and adults) to stick with any healthy program is to make it fun! Racking up points by eating colorful meals, and doubling your points by trying new foods, is a great way to make healthy eating fun and engaging for the whole family. Try playing Crunch a Color™ and you’ll see how this very simple change makes an immediate and positive impact at your family table.

3)   Enjoy meals together. Cooking and eating together is an important part of getting your whole family eating healthy. Children who eat dinner regularly with their families are 40% less likely to be obese, according to a study in Pediatrics. With busy schedules, taking time out for dinners together can be tough. Instead, dedicate at least one weeknight to “New Food Night.” As a family, we come together to set the menu, cook the meal, and enjoy eating together. Each week we include at least one food that we haven’t tried. It’s a wonderful family tradition. To make it easy and fun, focus on simple, colorful recipes you can enjoy cooking with your kids. Be sure to check out our 52 New Foods series for a fantastic lineup of kid-approved, healthy recipes your whole family will love.

No Bake Cookies: Bitty Bites

no bake cookiesPaired with a sweet touch of honey and wholesome oats, these healthy no bake cookies are the new lunchbox regulars at our house. Quick and easy to make, these tasty no bake bites use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter to create a healthy, nut-free, no bake cookie that's great for dessert or a lunchtime snack. Inspired by www.thescramble.com.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes about 12 cookies

½ cup oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sunflower butter
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp powdered sugar


1)   In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, sunflower butter and honey.

2)   Mix well.

3)   Use a tablespoon to portion a small amount of dough into your hands. Roll into a ball the size of a large marble.

4)   Roll the balls in the powdered sugar.

5)   Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Add dried cranberries or raisins for a little pop of color.

*Cooking tip: Lightly grease a measuring cup before adding the honey. It'll make it easy for the honey to slip right off into the mixing bowl.

Kale Chips

kale chipsA favorite snack for my kids is kale chips. They are an easy, healthy version of chips that your kids are sure to enjoy (their nutty flavor is akin to seaweed).

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: about 20 minutes
Makes about 4 servings

1 bunch lacinto ("dino") kale
1 Tbsp olive oil


1) Preheat oven to 250°F

2) Wash kale. Peel or cut leaves from center stalk. Chop into medium size pieces. Pat dry.

3) Toss in 1Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.

4) Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5) Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until crisp. Cool then serve.

Decorating Tricks

snack topperSimple flourishes can bring a smile. Use these fun Crunch a Color™ circles to make the healthy treat toppers featured on Canada AM. Or get creative and make your own napkin rings, place cards and lunchbox notes. Be sure to share your ideas on our Facebook page

Click here to download.







About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.