Traffic Light Eating: Teaching Kids Healthy Habits!

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The year my daughter was two we participated in a Mommy & Me class at her preschool. To ease the kids into the preschool “drop off” pattern, the mommies would go into another room for about 45 minutes for a talk or presentation so the kids could get used to playing without mommy.   One of these talks was presented by Sherri Fenn and the topic was all about teaching healthy eating habits to kids.   In that presentation she spoke of the “Traffic Light Eating” technique to teach your kids how to make healthy choices.   From that day on, I have used this with my daughter and it has been SO super effective I had to do a post on it!

To a two-year-old it probably doesn’t make sense why you can’t have cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Why not?!  That’s why this technique is so amazing.  It puts a hard-to-grasp concept into simple terms and categories.  Even today my 4-year-old will ask if it is okay to have a “red light” treat.  But she knows she has to feed her body “green light” foods before she can have a little “red light.”   She totally gets it.

So I asked Sherri if she could write me the brief synopsis to explain it best!  Here is what she wrote…

“The easiest way to introduce making healthy food choices to young children is Dr. Sears’ Traffic Light Eating from his book Eat Healthy, Feel Great.

All food can be classified as Green-light, Yellow-light or Red-light foods.

Green light foods are the “go for it!” foods that make you grow stronger, help your brain work better and give you more energy to play.

Yellow light foods are okay to eat sometimes, but they won’t keep you feeling great the way green-light foods do.  These are slow down foods like ice cream, butter, juice, and cookies.

Red-light foods don’t do anything to help your body. Instead, they can hurt your body and make you feel too full to eat your green-light foods. Red means stop, you can make a better choice.  Examples of red light foods are soda, chips, candy, and french fries.

A great game to play in the car, at the dinner table or in the grocery store is the traffic light game.  Have someone name a food and you have to guess which color light goes with that food.  You can then reinforce why they need to increase their green light foods and decrease their yellow and red light food choices.  It is never too early to start on this concept; even two year olds can get the idea and can play along.”

Sherri Fenn is a wife and mommy of 2 boys Jantzen (10) and Caden (7).  She is passionate about educating children and their parents about making healthy choices for their bodies.  As a retired USA national team volleyball player, Sherri knows the impact of proper fuel for the body.  Bridge the gap between what you should it and what you do eat every day by visiting her web-site at www.JPHealthandWellness.com or e-mail her at Sherri@JPHealthandWellness.com.

{Disclosure: Tiny Oranges is an Amazon.com Affiliate.}

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  1. 1

    Love, love, love this! Will definitely check the book out, thanks for the tip!

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