The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Helping Families Eat Healthier: Tools You Can Use

Helping Families Eat Healthier:  Tools You Can Use

Dietitian Dialogues

June 28, 2007

Helping Families Eat Healthier: Tools You Can Use

By Susan Borra, guest columnist

The number of overweight and obese children is on the rise and parents are concerned. They want ideas for helping their kids eat better and be more physically active. Yet, parents are strapped for time and need ideas that are fast and easy. Kids like to learn, but want to have fun, too.

That’s why we launched, an interactive and educational program promoting healthful lifestyles to 9 to12-year-old kids and their parents, in 2002. The goal of the program is to help prevent childhood weight problems by offering realistic tips to help families make healthful food choices, manage portion size, reduce screen time, and get physically active together as a family.

Developed as an educational outreach program of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the site teaches kids about healthful eating and physical activity in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way. It also provides resources for parents to help their kids develop sound eating and exercise habits through “Bright Papers” and the Real-Life Guide for Parents. An additional plus is the active game component that gets kids up and moving – right in front of the computer.

There are even resources for educators. The “Leader’s Guide” provides a comprehensive tool kit with a variety of activities related to healthful eating and physical activity, talking points, activities, games and reproducible handouts and recipes. Topics include MyPyramid for Kids, the importance of a nutritious breakfast and healthful snacks, recipe preparation activities, and much more.

Supermarkets can use as a great customer resource. Here’s how.

  • Online Links:  Link to from your web site or in-store kiosk, or print the web address in your store ad or newsletter.
  • Recipes and Cooking Classes for Kids: Offer the kid-friendly recipes found on the web site or use the “Let’s Get Cooking” module in the Leader’s Guide to hold cooking classes for kids. We think they’ll enjoy making the Insect-Infested Logs (celery stuffed with peanut butter and topped with dried fruit) and Super-Duper Shakin’ Snack Mix.
  • Nutrition Store Tours for Kids: Use the talking points, activities and handouts in the Leader’s Guide to develop a store tour for kids. The Blindfolded Fruit and Veggie Taste Test is always a hit.
  • In-Store Events for Parents: Provide copies of the Real-Life Guide for Parents as an in-store handout and during events such as supermarket tours, cooking classes and food demos. Reprint some of the tips in your newsletter or weekly ad.

What better place to help kids and parents make healthful food choices than right in the supermarket aisles? Resources from can help retailers meet the needs of parents and kids alike.

Susan Borra, RD, is president of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that communicates science-based information on health, food safety, and nutrition for the public good. Borra, a past-president of The American Dietetic Association (ADA), is an expert in consumer communications surrounding nutrition, food safety and health. For more information on visit