Be a Healthy Role Model

Variety of Healthy FoodsArticle written by Cami Wells, ( MS, RD, Extension Educator

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Young children love to follow what their parents do. They are likely to copy your table manners, your likes and dislikes and your willingness to try new foods. Here are a few tips on how to be a healthy role model:

  1. Go shopping together. Grocery shopping is a perfect time to teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Encourage your children to help select healthy foods from the store.
  2. Cook together. Provide opportunities for young children to help prepare meals and snacks. Not only is cooking a great way to spend time together but a wonderful time for teaching valuable skills in the kitchen.
  3. Keep things positive. Let your child see you enjoying new and healthy foods. Discourage your family members from making faces or negative comments about unfamiliar foods.
  4. Offer the same foods for everyone. Avoid being a “short-order cook” by making different dishes to please children. Short-order cooking teaches children they don’t have to be willing to try unfamiliar foods. It’s easier and less stressful to plan family meals when everyone eats the same thing.
  5. Set a good example for physical activity. Let them see you be active. Make play time, family time. Walk, run, and play with your child rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Yummy Roasted Broccoli and Red Peppers

5 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 large bunch), washedRoasted Broccoli and Red Peppers
1 red bell pepper, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Add broccoli, pepper, oil, lemon pepper and garlic to a self-sealing plastic bag; shake until ingredients are combined (or mix together in a bowl).
  4. Spread the mixture out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains 38 calories, 2 grams fat, 54 mg sodium, 5 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams fiber.

Cook's notes:  Feel free to use a combination of other vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, etc. Encourage young children to help by shaking the bag of veggies and placing on a baking sheet.

This publication has been peer-reviewed.


  1. Be a Healthy Role Model for Children, USDA