According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, active kids need proper nutrition to stay healthy. You’ll have far happier children when their physical and mental energy is sustained by nutritious eating. Plus, eating healthfully prevents both mental and physical health conditions down the road.What you do to encourage healthy eating habits for your kids right now setsthe tone for how they’ll eat as adults. But how do you do that when kids seem drawn to dinosaur-shaped mystery-meat nuggets and electric-hued foods?

– Add some visual appeal

If processed foods can make shapes that attract your children, you can too with wholesome homemade foods. Try plating your meals to look like naturescenes or using a cookie-cutter to create fun shapes out of real foods.

– Make meals more interactive

Active kids get bored easily. Give them something to do during the meal by serving cut-up veggies that come with a dip or sauce to dunk in. Healthy options like hummus are a great start but even a sauce can be healthy if youmake it fresh yourself.

– Let your kids pick healthy foods out

Part of the process of transitioning to healthy foods is starting at the source.Take your children to the store with you. Give them a choice between different vegetables and fruits. When they’re involved, they feel like they have control and are much more likely to eat what they’ve selected.

– Have your kids help you cook

After the store, come home and cook together with your children. This keeps them active and lets them see the whole process. And yes, they’re even more likely to eat the nutritious meals you create when they’ve been hard at work in the kitchen too!

– Prep healthy snacks and put them in reach

When your active child comes home from school, they most likely want a snack. Kids (adults too!) always reach for something convenient. Who wantsto be bothered with putting something together when they want a snack right now? Invest in proper containers and prep servings of veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. Put these containers in their line of vision so when they open the fridge, it’s what they see. Keep your hummus and healthy dips on the same shelf for healthy snacking access.

– Make healthy versions of common snacks

If you don’t want your kids to eat so many chips, you’ll have to stop buying them. But everyone loves a good savory and crunchy snack from time to time. A great activity with your kids is to make your own potato chips in the oven. Have them choose the seasonings and bake them to crispy perfection. Then you can feel good about this snack.When kids see that healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland or boring, they’llget more into it. As they do, they’ll be even more active and healthy, a gift that will keep on giving as they grow and grow. Which of these healthy mealtricks will you try?