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Families

MyPlate, MyWins for Families

Team NutritionMyPlate, MyWins

MyPlate, MyWins is all about finding a healthy eating style that works for your family and fits with your everyday life. The MyPlate icon is a reminder to make healthy choices from each of the five food groups, and there are many small changes you can make that add up to big success over time. Here you’ll find fun, practical tips and tools that have worked for other families. Give some a try, and discover “wins” for your own family.

Not sure where to start? Here are resources your family can use for ideas:

  1. Videos Featuring Real Families
    Hear from real families who are making healthy eating a reality in these videos. For example, follow Shelley and her two-year-old as she sets her family up for success by making little changes to her son’s diet, or see how Rocio teaches her four boys about the value of nutrition. 
     
  2. Family-Friendly Recipe IdeasYour Table, Your Tips: “When I realized how much added sugar and salt comes in the foods we were eating I couldn’t believe it. I started buying fruits for snacks and dessert instead of chips and cookies, now my daughter begs for bananas and blueberries in the grocery store.  I’m also saving money by skipping the soda and drinking water instead.”  – Luca, dad of 2 from Montana
    Check out the newly updated MyPlate Kitchen (formerly, What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl) for healthy, budget-friendly recipes you can prepare with your family.

     
  3. Information About Local Foods
    Learn more about the foods grown in your state, and get kids excited about trying hometown flavors. 

     
  4. Healthy Eating on a Budget
    Use these tips and materials to make healthy choices while staying within your budget. 

     
  5. Learn More About School Meals
    Schools today are focusing on offering a variety of fruit and vegetables and serving healthy recipes. Check out these resources to learn more about why school meals are a great choice: 
    MyPlate Guide to School Breakfast
    MyPlate Guide to School Lunch
     
  6. Let's Talk Trash
    Want to learn more about food loss and waste? Let's Talk Trash includes consumer-friendly resources to help audiences think about the amount of food wasted at home. Download the infographic for posting at home, school, work, etc.


How can families help their children and teens eat healthy at school?

  • Try new foods at home. Kids need many opportunities to taste a new food to “get used to it.”
  • Eat lunch at school with your child. Learn more about what’s offered and meet school nutrition staff.
  • Encourage your child or teen to join in taste-testing events or surveys about school lunch, when available.
  • Talk with your child about what’s on the menu. Make sure they know about all the foods that are included in their school lunch.

    And during the summer, USDA’s Summer Food Service Program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Learn more here.  
 
Additional Resources for Health Professionals

 


 

Mother and son preparing foodActivities to Do With Kids

Are you looking for fun ways to teach kids about healthy eating? Try these activities, with free printables, to get the whole family on board with making healthier choices.

Preschool and Elementary-Aged Kids

  • Food Critic 
    Kids are much more likely to try new foods when they get to take the lead. In this fun game, kids get to pick a new food at the grocery store, taste it, and rate it like a food critic. 
     
  • Grocery Store Bingo
    Make your weekly errand an opportunity for your kids to learn about new foods and healthy eating choices with this printable bingo card.
     
  • Food Art
    Show kids that healthy foods can be beautiful and appetizing. Check out these food art examples to inspire your creativity.
     
  • MyPlate Printable Activities and Coloring Sheets
    Print these activity sheets for kids to learn more about healthy eating, including a coloring page, word scramble, crossword puzzle and more. 
     
  • Blast Off Game
    In this online game, kids must fuel up their MyPlate spaceship with smart food choices and physical activity to fly to Planet Power.
 

Tweens and Teens

  • Kid’s Restaurant
    Let the kid(s) be the chef. Kids get to plan out the meal, design a menu for you, and prepare the dish. Use this printable template to get them started.
     
  • MyPlate Plan
    Enter your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level to get a personalized food plan showing what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance.

    Your Table, Your Tips: “One of your [MyPlate's] tips was to grow a backyard garden. And that is exactly what our family did this past summer. I was in charge of carrots and peppers while my sister was in charge of tomatoes and cucumbers. Eating veggies from our own garden really made healty eating fun!” – Beth & Sarah, sisters from New Jersey
  • Grow a Garden
    Get tweens and teens involved in family meals with gardening. You can start small, with a window herb box in your kitchen or a garden in your yard. 
     
  • Learn Where Your Food Comes From
    Helping kids learn about the source of their food and the people who produce it may motivate them to make healthy choices. Attend a local farmer’s market or farm stand as a family and gather ingredients for a meal to cook together. Find a market near you!
     
  • Tip Sheets for Teens
    Young people experience many changes during their tween and teen years. Building healthy food and physical activity habits will help them now and as they enter adulthood. These tips can help them take charge and learn to make their own choices. 
    10 Tips for Girls: Eat Smart and Be Active as You Grow
    10 Tips for Boys: Choose the Foods You Need to Grow
     
  • Summer Food, Summer Moves Activity Guides for Families
    These guides provide tons of great ideas to help families be active and maintain healthy eating patterns while school is out. 

 


 

Family eating meal togetherMaking Family Mealtimes Fun

Sitting down together for a meal whenever you can is a great way to connect with your family. Keeping it relaxed is key to making sure you are getting the most out of this time together, including talking, laughing and choosing healthy foods. Here are some tips from families for making meals more relaxed in your home: 
  • Remove distractions. Turn off the television and put away phones and tablets, so that your attention is on each other.
     
  • Talk to each other. Focus conversation on what family members did during the day, for example, what made you laugh or what you did for fun. Other conversation starters include:
    • Give each family member the spotlight to share their highlight, lowlight, and “funnylight” from the day or week.
    • If our family lived in a zoo, what animals would we be and why?
    • If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
    • If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food to eat, what would it be and why? 
       
  • Your Table, Your Tips:  “With children you have to keep offering them a variety. You can’t just offer them something once & because they didn’t like it the first time give up…You’ll be surprised that after a few tries often children will change their minds. Mine did.” – Lisa, mom of 4 boys from VirginiaPass on traditions. Tell children about the “good old days” such as foods grandma made that you loved to eat. 
     
  • Let kids make choices. Set a healthy table and let everyone, including the kids, make choices about what they want and how much to eat.
     
  • Let everyone help. Kids learn by doing. The little one might get the napkins and older kids help with fixing foods and clean‐up.  
     
  • Make-your-own dishes like tacos, mini pizzas, and yogurt parfaits get everyone involved in meal time.
     
  • On nice days, opt for a change of scenery. For example, go to a nearby park for a dinner picnic.  
     
  • Reserve a special plate to rotate between family members, for example on birthdays, when someone gets a good grade, or any other occasion you’d like to recognize.