Simple Tips to Feed Your Family Well

Try these quick, budget-friendly ideas to help your family make healthier choices every day.


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Budget Hacks

Learn how to shop for healthy foods that fill you up and stretch your budget further.

How to Stretch Your Ingredients

Save money and reduce waste by reusing leftover ingredients creativity.

Click the plus sign to reveal tips.

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How to Compare Prices

Use unit prices to find the best buy. Look for the unit price right on the shelf tag. It will be listed separately from the retail price (the price you pay).

15 oz Brand A Peanut Butter

The unit price is the price per unit (e.g., price per pound, price per ounce). The retail price is the price you pay for the item.

40 oz Brand B Peanut Butter

The larger jar of peanut butter costs more but it is a better buy because the unit price is lower.


Tip: If your store doesn’t list unit prices, you can figure it out yourself. All you need to do is divide the retail price by the number of units.

Unit Price = Retail price Number of units

Let’s try it by
comparing these carrots!

5 lbs Carrots

First convert pounds to ounces:

5 x 16 = 80 oz

Then find the unit price

$0.04 = $3.49 80 oz

$0.04 per oz

10 oz Shredded Carrots

This product is already in ounces

Find the unit price

$0.20 = $1.99 10 oz

$0.20 per oz


Find a common unit first

Sometimes the units of food you want to compare (e.g., pounds, ounces) are different. Look for a common unit first. TIP: Remember 1 lb = 16 oz.

Use unit prices to compare:

  • The same food, but different form
  • (whole carrots vs shredded carrots)

  • The same food, but in different size containers
  • (a gallon of milk vs half-gallon)

  • Foods in similar categories
  • (a pound of zucchini vs a pound of asparagus)

  • Different brands of the same food
  • (name brand cereal vs store brand)

    Learn more ways to eat healthy on a budget, check out these videos.

    How To Choose Budget-Friendly Foods

    On your next grocery trip, pick up these family favorites that are both filling and less expensive.

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    Apples are one of the most affordable fruits. Enjoy them sliced with nut butter for a filling snack.

    Chicken Value Pack

    Save money by buying the refrigerated or frozen family-size bag of chicken.


    Dried beans generally cost less, with lentils being the most economical.


    This filling protein usually costs less than meat. Mix into stir-fries.

    Canned Foods

    Canned fruits and veggies are usually less expensive than fresh ones, and have a longer shelf life.

    Frozen Fruits

    Try buying frozen fruit when your favorites aren’t in season. Blend into smoothies.

    Tips for Shopping Trips

    Shop smarter. Follow these tips to save time and money on your next journey to the grocery store.

    Drag each image into the cart to view tips.

    Time Savers

    From 5-minute recipes to tips on easy clean-up, see all the ways to cook healthy in a hurry.

    The Freezer Is Your Friend

  • Next time you make a recipe, double it! Freeze extra in meal-size portions so it’s easy to grab and reheat.

  • Pre-chop veggies like onions, carrots, celery, and peppers, then freeze leftovers so you can use them quickly later.

  • Pro tip: You can cook frozen vegetables straight away. No need to defrost!

  • Place chicken and marinade in freezer-safe bags. When you’re ready, simply defrost or thaw and cook!

  • How to Cook Vegetables Three Ways

    Choose the cooking technique that works best for your family’s schedule and preferences. Follow directions for 1 lb chopped vegetables.

    Click to reveal tips.

    Touch to reveal tips.

    Stove Top

    Fill a pot with 1½ inches of water and simmer veggies according to the times below.


    Preheat oven to 450℉. Toss vegetables with 1 Tbsp oil. Spread them out on a baking sheet (use non-stick spray first). Bake according to times below.


    Put vegetables in a microwave-safe dish with 2 Tbsp water. Cover slightly. Microwave according to cook times below.

    Veggie Cooking Method

    To cook your veggies quickly and deliciously, try these three different methods.

    Approximate Cook Times


    Simmer on Stove

    Bake at 450°


    Asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash

    4-6 MIN

    15–20 MIN

    3–5 MIN

    Beets, turnips

    10-15 MIN

    20-25 MIN

    10–12 MIN

    Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage

    5-8 MIN

    10-20 MIN

    5-7 MIN

    Carrots, parsnips (1½ lbs)

    10-15 MIN

    20-25 MIN

    6-10 MIN

    Celery Root

    10-15 MIN

    20-25 MIN

    4-6 MIN

    Chard, collards, kale, mustard, turnip or beet greens (1½ lbs)

    3-5 MIN


    8-10 MIN

    Corn on the cob (4 ears)

    5 MIN

    15-20 MIN

    8-12 MIN

    Green beans

    4-6 MIN

    15-20 MIN

    8-12 MIN

    Snow peas, sugar snap peas

    2-4 MIN

    8-10 MIN

    3-5 MIN

    Spinach (1½ lbs)

    2 MIN


    2-4 MIN

    Sweet potatoes, potatoes, rutabagas**

    10-15 MIN

    20-25 MIN

    8-12 MIN

    Winter squash (2 lbs)

    15-20 MIN

    25-35 MIN

    8-12 MIN

    *Microwave temperatures can vary. Check your veggies often. Note what times work best for your microwave.
    **Sweet potatoes or white potatoes can also be cooked whole. Poke them with a fork in several places. Microwave on medium, turning once or twice, about 20 minutes for white potatoes and 12-15 minutes for sweet potatoes. Or, bake in the oven at 400° F for 45-60 minutes.

    How to Make Cleanup Easy

    Follow these simple ideas to help make cooking a little less messy, and clean-up a lot quicker.

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    How to Make Meals Fast

    Throw these together with some pre-cooked ingredients or leftovers for simple, fast meals.

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    Swipe for quick tips.

    Build a Burrito Bowl

    Throw together protein, veggies, and brown rice for a tasty meal. Top with salsa or avocado.

    Sheet Pan Dinner

    Cook a whole dinner all on one sheet with your choice of protein and veggies.

    Egg Drop Soup for 2

    A simple soup with only a few ingredients. Freeze single portions to heat up for a quick lunch.

    Pizza Pizzazz

    Top your choice of bread with sauce and cheese. Load with veggies for an extra nutrient boost.

    Stir-Fry Fast

    Combine leftover chicken, rice, and veggies in a pan with a little oil. Cook until veggies are soft, and top with soy sauce.

    No Fuss Roasted Veggies

    A fast, easy, flavor-filled side that can be made with veggies you have on hand.

    Set-It-and-Forget-It Potatoes

    Dice potatoes and toss with a little olive oil and bake for a tasty side.

    Simple Carrot Side

    Microwave cut carrots for this family-friendly side in 5 minutes.

    Quick Marinade

    Give protein a flavor boost with this quick marinade that uses ingredients you likely already have!

    Grab-and-Go Breakfast Ideas

    These fast and filling breakfasts will start your day right.

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    Fruity and Sweet

    Top low-fat yogurt with fruit and a spoonful of granola.

    Microwave Scrambled Eggs

    Whip up this recipe in just a few minutes using only eggs and water.


    Make toast with hummus or peanut butter and eat with a whole piece of fruit.

    Savory Start

    Top your toast with ham and tomato. Mmmm! Filling and delicious.

    Fruits and Nuts

    Add a spoonful of raisins or nuts to your cereal for added flavor and nutrients.

    Opt for Tortillas

    Wrap your scrambled eggs in a warm tortilla and serve with low-fat milk.

    Make Waffles Interesting

    Top whole grain frozen waffles with cottage cheese and fruit instead of syrup for a filling, nutrient-packed treat.

    Make a Cheese Board

    Try whole wheat crackers and cheese with a glass of refreshing water to start your day.

    Breakfast Casserole

    Leftovers? Add an egg on top to turn leftovers into a yummy breakfast treat.

    Roast Potato Hash

    Use up leftover roasted potatoes by combining them with cooked onions and eggs.

    Plan Your Shopping Trip

    To cut your shopping time, make a plan! Grab your budget, your recipes, list of ingredients on hand, and any store flyers. Let’s get planning.

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    Tap on each circle for tips.

    Get fresh ideas, tips and recipes for meal prep with these videos!

    Parenting Shortcuts

    Tips and strategies to start your little kids off on the right foot.

    Change Negative Phrases into Positive Ones

    Flip each card for ideas.


    Instead of: “Eat that for me.”

    Avoid phrases that teach children to eat to win your favor.


    Instead of: “Take one more bite before you leave the table.”

    Avoid phrases that teach children to ignore fullness to win your favor.


    Instead of: “See, that didn’t taste so bad, did it?”

    Avoid phrases that imply children are wrong to refuse a food.


    Instead of: “Stop crying and I will give you a cookie.”

    Avoid phrases that teach children to eat to feel better.


    Instead of: “No dessert until you eat your broccoli.”

    Avoid phrases that make foods, like dessert, seem better than other foods, like veggies, and emphasize kids’ dislikes.

    How Much Should I Feed My Child?

    Use this chart to know how much your child needs per day.

    Daily Recommended Amounts for Young Children Food Group 2 years 3 years 4-5 years Vegetables 1 cup 1–1½ cups 1½–2 cups Fruits 1 cup 1–1½ cups 1½–2 cups Grains 3 ounces 3–5 ounces 4–5 ounces Protein 3 ounces 2–4 ounces 3–5 ounces Dairy 2 cups 2-2½ cups 2½ cups

    I’m Worried My Child Isn’t Eating Enough

    Keep the amounts in the chart above in mind but don’t sweat it if your child needs more or less. Remember:

    Each child is different; what they need can vary based on their age and gender.

    Food intake is impacted by activity level and can vary from day to day.

    Let your child serve themselves and allow them to stop eating when they’re full.

    Tips to Raise a Healthy Eater

    Raising a Healthy Eater

    Help children learn to make healthy choices on their own. It's a lesson they will use for life.

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    Have healthy foods ready to eat.

    • Want kids to reach for healthy foods? Make sure healthy foods are in reach.
    • Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables in the house to add to meals and snacks.

    Let kids learn by serving themselves.

    • Follow a regular meal and snack schedule so kids know what to expect.
    • Serve foods family-style and have them take small servings. Let them get more if they are still hungry.
    • Use smaller bowls and plates so they don't take too much at once.

    Be patient. It works better than pressure.

    • Kids don't always take to new foods right away. Offer them many times, and try serving them in different ways.
    • When you offer children new foods, let them choose how much to eat. Kids are more likely to enjoy a food when eating it is their own choice.

    Let kids help in the kitchen.

    • Kids like to try foods they help make. It's a great way to support trying new fruits and vegetables.
    • Name their dish ("Karla's Salad"). Make a big deal of serving foods they help create.

    Use encouraging words.

    • As a parent, what you say has a big impact on kids' eating habits.
    • Gently guide your kids to make healthy choices with positive words.

    Tips for Picky Eaters

    Try these different techniques to get your child to venture beyond chicken nuggets and pizza.

    Click to reveal tips.

    Swipe to reveal tips.

    Kids are more likely to try new foods if they help pick them out. At the store, give them options and let them choose their favorite.

    Let kids help with the prep work. When they get involved in making the food they’re more likely to try it.

    Serve kids healthy foods, like veggies, first. Kids are more likely to eat them if there are fewer competing foods on the plate.

    Introduce new drinks, like low-fat milk, slowly. Combine with whole milk in cereal or in a drink. Add more over time until it’s all low-fat.

    Let them serve themselves. Kids eat more when they choose the amount they want on their plate.

    Don’t give up. It takes 8–10 times for a kid to become familiar with a new food. Keep serving it!

    Take Veggies from Yuck to Yum

    Get kids to eat more veggies by trying different ways to serve them.

    Drag each food to the child.

    Cooking Basics

    Take your cooking game to the next level with these kitchen basics and other techniques.

    Knife Skills

    Follow these tips to buy, use, and care for your knives.

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    Knife Shopping Tips

    Knife Safety Tips

    Using the Knife Safely

    Hold a few in your hand before buying if possible. Handles have different shapes. Some may feel more comfortable than others.

    You don’t need to purchase a 10-piece knife block set. Most kitchen tasks can be done with just one or two knives:

    Chef’s knife (8–10 inch blade). Almost all kitchen jobs can be done with just this knife. If you can only buy one, go with this one.

    Paring knife (3–4 inch blade). Good for tasks where you need to be more precise, like peeling and coring.

    Serrated knife (8–10 inch blade, small “teeth”). This knife is long like a chef’s knife but the blade edge is jagged, rather than smooth. Good for slicing bread and soft-skinned produce, like tomatoes.

    Never put a knife in a sink full of water. You or someone else may forget it’s there. This can lead to cuts when you grab things to clean.

    Don’t try to catch a falling knife. If you drop it, take a quick step back so it doesn’t nick your toes or bounce back on you.

    To pass a knife, hand it off by the handle. Or, set it down on the counter and let the other person pick it up.

    Always walk with the blade of your knife pointed towards the floor. This helps avoid nicking someone who comes into your path.

    Keep knives sharp. A dull knife requires more force, which can lead to slipping. To sharpen knives, check the cost at a local hardware or kitchenware store, or price out sharpeners at discount stores. Do not try to sharpen serrated knives—it could ruin the teeth.

    Watch your fingers. Tuck your fingers toward your palm on the hand that is holding the food.

    Lead down with the tip. Angle the tip of the knife toward the cutting board.

    Slice. Cut through the food with a slicing or sawing motion. Don’t just push down.

    Create a flat surface. When working with round foods like onions or potatoes, cut them in half first. Lay the flat side down, then keep cutting.

    Cooking Terms

    Recipes are easier to follow when you know these common cooking terms.

    Scroll through tips













    Sauté (pan fry)





    To cook food in an oven with dry heat.

    To cook food quickly in heated liquid. The liquid moves rapidly, and large bubbles keep breaking the surface. Often used for vegetables and pasta.

    To cook food directly under the heat source of a gas or electric oven. Often used for fish and tender cuts of meat.

    To cook quickly over high heat, usually on top of the stove, so the surface of the food turns brown and the inside stays moist.

    To cut into pieces, which can vary in size.

    To cut into small, even cubes, usually about ¼ inch per side.

    To cook food directly on the heat source of a gas, charcoal, or wood grill. Often used for fish, tender cuts of meat, and vegetables.

    To mix and work the ingredients that make up dough into smooth, elastic form. Can be done with hands or a heavy-duty mixer.

    To cut food into even smaller pieces than diced.

    To beat or stir two or more foods together until they are combined.

    To cook food gently in large amounts of heated liquid. The liquid moves slightly, but no bubbles break the surface. Often used for eggs, fish, and fruit.

    To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven.

    To cook food in a small amount of fat or oil on top of a stove. Heat the fat until hot (but not smoking), add the food, and cook to stated time or tenderness.

    To cook food slowly in heated liquid. Small bubbles should break the surface. Often used for meats and stews that benefit from slow cooking.

    To cut into wide, thin pieces.

    To cook food quickly in a covered pot by the moist heat made from a small amount of heated liquid. The food is held above the liquid by a basket or rack. Often used for vegetables and fish.

    To beat ingredients with a fork or a "whisk:' This adds air and increases the volume. The mixture appears light and fluffy.

    Fluid Ounce

    Common Cooking Abbreviations

    Brush up on the most popular cooking abbreviations featured in your favorite recipes.


    How To Measure Dry Ingredients

    Learn the different methods for measuring ingredients like flour, sugar, spices and salt.

    Even or Level

    Measure the exact amount (so the ingrdient is level with the top of the cup or spoon). If the recipe doesn’t say, measure like this.

    Firmly Packed

    Press as much of the ingredient as you can fit into the measure.

    Lightly Packed

    Press the ingredient into the cup lightly. Don't pack too lightly.


    Allow the ingredient to pile up above the rim of the measuring cup or spoon naturally, into a soft mound.


    Pile as much of the ingredient on top of the measure as it can hold.


    Pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh strainer of sifter before measuring.

    Pinch or Dash

    A small amount, usually less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.

    Check Out These Videos for More Tips on Mastering the Kitchen Basics.

    How to Keep Food Safe

    Help your food last even longer with these safe storage and prep tips.

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    How Long Does Food Last?

    Use food within the time listed on the package or freeze right away. Follow the timelines below for best food quality.

    Click the buttons below to see suggested storage lengths.

    Tap the buttons below to see suggested storage lengths.

    Freeze It Right

    Learn how to correctly freeze food to help maintain flavor and freshness.

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    Tap on each circle for tips.

    Thaw It Right

    Learn how to safely defrost food using a variety of methods.

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    Tap on each circle for tips.

    Stocking Your Pantry

    A well-stocked pantry can help you create meals in a hurry—no need to run back out to the store. Make sure to check the pantry before you go shopping.

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    Baking Products

    Have flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder on hand. They are basic ingredients for many fresh baked goods.

    Canned Proteins

    Add beans to salads, soups, and main dishes, or serve as a side dish. Try canned fish in salads, casseroles, and pasta.

    Canned Produce

    Canned pineapple, applesauce, corn, and green beans make quick snacks and easy side dishes. Or, use in main dishes to stretch servings.


    Canola and olive oils are nutritious choices when cooking or making dressings. Cooking spray keeps food from sticking to the pan.

    Canned Tomato Products

    Keep canned tomato sauce and whole, diced, or pureed tomatoes on hand. They are basic ingredients in a wide range of recipes.


    Enjoy with fruit and milk, or, use to make trail mixes, baked goods, or crispy coatings for meat, poultry, and fish.

    Canned or Powdered Milk

    Canned or Powdered Milk Canned low-fat evaporated and dry powdered milk keep longer than fresh. Use in recipes instead of fresh milk.


    Keep apple cider, red wine, rice, or balsamic vinegars on hand for homemade salad dressings and marinades.

    Pasta and Rice

    Buy whole wheat pasta and brown rice in bulk or on sale. Store in airtight containers after opening to keep fresh and prevent pests.

    Dried Fruits and Nuts

    Use as a snack on their own or in homemade trail mix. Add to cereals, baked goods, and yogurt for a snack or breakfast.

    Dried Herbs

    Buy the dried herbs and spices you use often. Use to add flavor in place of extra salt.

    0 Days

    1 Month

    2 Month

    3 Month

    4+ Month

    Fresh eggs in shell

    Do Not Freeze

    Hot dogs and lunch meat, unopened

    1 - 2 months

    Hot dogs and lunch meat, opened

    1 - 2 months

    Ground meat and stew meat

    3 - 4 months

    Beef, lamb, veal and pork chops

    4 - 6 months

    Cooked meat, poultry and casseroles

    2 - 4 months

    Cooked meat and poultry pieces in sauce

    2 - 4 months

    Whole poultry pieces

    9 - 12 months

    Pizza, leftover

    1 - 2 months

    Cheese, hard or grated

    6 - 12 months


    3 months


    1 - 2 months

    0 Days

    3 Days

    1 Week

    2 Weeks

    3+ Weeks

    Fresh eggs in shell

    3-5 weeks

    Hot dogs and lunch meat, unopened

    2 weeks

    Hot dogs and lunch meat, opened

    3-7 days

    Ground meat and stew meat

    1-2 days

    Beef, lamb, veal and pork chops

    3-5 days

    Cooked meat, poultry and casseroles

    3-4 days

    Cooked meat and poultry pieces in sauce

    1-2 days

    Whole poultry pieces

    1-2 days

    Pizza, leftover

    3-4 days

    Cheese, hard or grated

    6-12 weeks


    1 week


    1-2 weeks

    Simple Swaps

    Try making small swaps to help your family get more of the good stuff.

    Tempted to skip over a recipe because of one ingredient? Just use something else! If your recipe calls for a food that is too pricey, hard to find, or that you simply don’t care for, try subbing in another. Substitutions may be different for raw or cooked foods, so figure out how it’s used in your recipe. Then try the tips in the charts below.

    Sub It In

    Scroll through tips

  • Instead of...
  • If using raw, sub in...
  • If using cooked, sub in...
  • Berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries)

  • Cherries, bananas, grapes, stone fruit

  • Cherries, grapes, stone fruit

  • Grapes

  • Cherries, berries, bananas

  • Cherries, berries

  • Stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots)

  • Bananas, berries

  • Grapes, apples, pears

  • Grapes

  • Cherries, berries, bananas

  • Cherries, berries

  • Stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots)

  • Bananas, berries

  • Grapes, apples, pears

  • Vegetables
  • Instead of...
  • If using raw, sub in...
  • If using cooked, sub in..
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cauliflower, spinach, dark leafy greens
  • Carrots
  • Beets, celery root, summer squash, celery
  • Root vegetables, summer squash, celery
  • Dark leafy greens (kale, chard, collards, turnip, beet, and mustard greens)
  • Spinach, lettuce, cabbage
  • Spinach, broccoli, cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • ---
  • Zucchini, yellow squash, sweet peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Summer squash
  • Snow peas, sugar snap peas, summer squash
  • Potatoes
  • ---
  • Sweet potato, root vegetables, carrots
  • Root vegetables (turnips, beets, rutabaga, celery root)
  • Sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage
  • Summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash)
  • Sweet peppers, carrots
  • Eggplant, sweet peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cabbage, root vegetables, carrots
  • Root vegetables, carrots, winter squash, parsnips
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potatoes, root vegetables, parsnips, carrots
  • Foods within the same category can be used in place of each other. For instance, a dark leafy green such as kale can be replaced with any other dark leafy green like chard or collards, whether raw or cooked. The following substitutions will work whether using raw or cooked foods.

    Fruit and Veggie Swaps

    Foods within the same category can be used in place of each other. For instance, a dark leafy green such as kale can be replaced with any other dark leafy green like chard or collards, whether raw or cooked. The following substitutions will work whether using raw or cooked foods.


    Click each flip card for ideas.
    Tap each flip card for ideas.

    Drink Swaps

    Follow these tips for simple and healthy drinks you can make at home.

    Click each card to reveal a tip.

    Tap each card to reveal a tip.

    Packaged Food Hacks

    Make ready-made meals more filling and nutritious with these quick tips.

    Click each card to reveal a tip.

    Tap each card to reveal a tip.

    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:
    Instead of:









    Click each flip card for ideas.
    Tap each flip card for ideas.

    Hot Peppers



    Edamame (soy beans)



    Sweet Peppers

    Check out these videos for more ways to make healthy meals and snacks.

    Kids in the Kitchen

    Eating healthier is easier when you do it together. Follow these tips to get everyone in on the fun.

    Teach Kitchen Skills

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    Kids in the Kitchen

    Eating healthier is easier when you do it together. Follow these tips to get everyone in on the fun.

    Teach Kitchen Skills

    Click each plus sign for tips.

    Tap each plus sign for tips.

    Help kids stir thicker mixtures by holding the bowl and placing one hand over their hand as they hold the spoon.

    Kids of almost any age can help rinse fruits and veggies. Use a colander in the sink.

    Lift a piece of skin on onions or citrus to help kids start peeling, then they can easily tear off the rest.

    The first few times you help kids chop foods, help guide their hand with yours. Start by cutting soft foods, like cantaloupe, with a serrated plastic knife or table knife.

    Show kids how to tap the shell of an egg to crack the surface and use their thumbs to pull the shell apart.

    Slice citrus and microwave for 15-20 seconds to make it easier for kids to squeeze out the juice.

    Let kids pour out pre-measured ingredients. Then, advance to measuring small amounts of dry ingredients before moving to wet ingredients.

    Place your hand over little hands while using a grater, watching their fingers carefully so they don’t get cut or scraped.

    What Each Age
    Can Do

    Tips That Work for All Ages

    Start simple. Make recipes with just a few steps until you learn what each child can do.

    Help kids develop a love of healthy foods by teaching them to create meals with you.

    Tips for Junior Shoppers

    Kids are more likely to eat food that they choose. Here’s how to get them excited about helping.

    Click on each circle for tips.

    Tap on each circle for tips.

    Let your experience be your guide. Adjust the tasks you assign based on your child’s skills.

    Supervise. Make sure kids know the rules of kitchen safety from the start.

    Kids can also help set and clear the table, clean up, and get out ingredients and put them away.

    Watch These Videos for Even More Tips on Getting Kids in the Kitchen

    Kids 2 and under can…

    • Play with plastic measuring cups, spoons, containers, or a bowl of water and a whisk.
    • Learn to say names and colors of foods being used.
    • Smell foods and, depending on the food, taste small amounts

    Let 3 year-olds try to…

    • Rinse and scrub fresh produce
    • Tear, snap, or break foods
    • Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes in dough
    • Pluck fruits or leaves from stems
    • Dip foods into dips
    • Arrange foods on a plate
    • Help stir ingredients together in a bowl

    Let 4 year-olds start to…

    • Measure ingredients
    • Cut with a plastic or dull butter knife
    • Squeeze juice from fruits
    • Shake ingredients in small containers, such as jars or zip-top bags

    Let 5 year-olds try to…

    • Help grate cheeses and vegetables
    • Crack and beat eggs
    • Peel oranges

    Let 6 to 8 year-olds try to…

    • Read the recipe
    • Crack eggs
    • Measure small amounts of ingredients
    • Use an egg beater
    • Rinse, scrub, and peel onions, carrots, cucumbers, and other produce
    • Grate cheese and vegetables
    • Decorate cookies
    • Spread soft frostings and condiments
    • Roll out and shape dough
    • Cut soft foods with a plastic or dull butter knife

    Let 9 to 13 year-olds try to…

    • Follow recipes and make simple meals by themselves
    • Use electrical tools like blenders and mixers
    • Open cans
    • Drain cooked pasta in a colander
    • Remove trays from the oven with adult supervision

    Get Kids Cooking

    Let kids unleash their creativity in the kitchen. Ask for their help making these fun, easy recipes.

    Click for ideas.

    Swipe for ideas.

    Nut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

    Little sandwiches built from slices of banana, strawberry and peanut butter as the “glue.”

    Animal Face Toast

    Decorate toast with nut butter and fruit in the shapes of your favorite animals.

    Banana Drop Cookies

    These healthier cookies have just three ingredients and are easy to whip up quickly.

    Brussel Sprout Chips

    Roasting the outer leaves of brussel sprouts turns them into crunchy chips kids love.

    Campfire Banana

    Slit a banana and bake in the oven with your favorite toppings for a fun, kid-friendly dessert.

    Cookie Cutter Pancakes

    Pour batter into cookie cutters to form fun shapes kids will love.

    Sandwich Shapes

    Use a cookie cutter or knife to slice sandwiches into fun shapes.

    Cucumber Sammies

    Slice and stack cucumbers, cheese, and deli meat for a delicious and fun snack.

    Silly Snacks

    Make eating fun by drawing faces on the outside of cheese sticks, fruit cups and fruit peels.

    Homemade Popsicles

    Mix fruit with your favorite 100% juice or low-fat yogurt. Add a popsicle stick and freeze for a cool treat.

    PB&J Sushi

    Sandwich nut butter and jelly between flattened bread (crusts removed). Roll up and slice into three pieces.

    Easy Homemade Pizza

    Add your favorite pizza toppings to a bagel or english muffin and bake.

    DIY Popcorn

    Add ⅓ cup of kernels to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and heat on high 2-3 minutes or until popping slows.

    Infant Feeding

    Nutrition information to help you give your little ones a healthy start.

    Safe Start to Fruits and Vegetables

    Introducing solid foods to your baby can be nerve-racking. Never fear though! With fresh, frozen, or canned options, there are plenty of ways to get your baby on solids. Each child is different, so use the chart below as a guide to introducing each food safely to your child.


    ~6 months

    Sitting solo
    No teeth


    ~12 months

    Crawling\Toddling A few teeth

    Older Toddler

    ~18 months

    Walking Molars


    3+ years

    Very active
    Many teeth

    Food Soft, Mashed
    1/2 in. for soft
    1/4 in. for firm
    1/2 in for all Larger chunks
    Banana img img img img Bell Pepper img img img img Mandarin img img img img Carrot img img img img Pineapple img img img img Mango img img img img Celery img img img img Broccoli img img img img Blueberry img img img img Grape img img img img

    How to Make Baby Food

    Making baby food yourself can cut down on food costs, help the baby learn to eat like the rest of the family, and get the baby nutrients without added chemicals or fillers. First, wash hands and work spaces thoroughly. Then, follow the chart below.

    To make… Prep Cook Blend Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Wash, peel, and remove any core or seeds. Cook food until tender. Boil in a small amount of water. Or, try steaming or baking. Use a blender, fork, or food grinder to mash the food until it is smooth. Add liquid, such as water, formula, or breast milk, to thin as needed. Canned or Frozen Produce Be sure it has no added salt, sugar, fat, or spices. Meat, Poultry, or Fish Remove bones, skin, and fatty parts.

    Even More Feeding Tips for Baby

    As your baby matures, slowly start letting them try healthy foods from the family table.

    Set aside some food for baby before adding sugar, salt, or heavy spices for the rest of the family.

    To save time and money, you can even make baby food from some of the fruits, veggies, and protein foods you are already preparing for your family.

    Keep Baby Food Safe

    Throw these together with some pre-cooked ingredients or leftovers for simple, fast meals.

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    Let food cool so it does not burn your baby’s mouth and throat. Taste-test the temperature before serving.

    Give your baby one new food at a time. Wait a few days before starting a new food. Watch for any allergic reactions. Do not serve any mixed- ingredient foods until you have served each ingredient on its own.

    Refrigerate baby food that is not eaten right away. Use meat, poultry, fish, or egg yolks within 1 day. Use all other baby food within 1–2 days.

    Or, store in the freezer up to 1 month. Freeze in clean ice cube trays. Store frozen cubes in a bag labeled with the date the food was frozen.

    Reheat stored baby food to at least 165°F. Let cool to a safe temperature before serving.

    Reheating on the stove:

    Place a small heat-safe dish in a small pot. Add about an inch of water. Bring water to a simmer. When food is warm, remove from pot. Stir and test for temperature.

    Reheating in the microwave:

    Turn dish often to prevent hot spots. Stir well, let sit for a few minutes, and test for temperature.

    Child Food Safety

    Make eating safer for your kids with these food safety basics.

    How to Spot a Food Allergy

    Learn about the most common food allergies and how to know if your child is having a reaction.

    What are the Most Common Food Allergens?

    A food allergy is a reaction that happens when the body’s immune system mistakes a food for something harmful.
    The 8 most common are:










    (cashews, walnuts, etc.) img







    How Do You Spot an Allergic Reaction?

    Symptoms start within minutes of eating the allergen, and show up no later than 2 hours later. Most symptoms are mild, but some can be life-threatening.

    Tingling sensation in the mouth


    Swollen tongue or throat


    Difficulty breathing






    Abdominal cramps




    Can My Child Outgrow an Allergy?

    Children often outgrow allergies to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and fish usually last. Shellfish allergies often start later in childhood or adulthood.


    How Do I Know if My Child Has a Food Allergy?

    Follow the steps below.


    Offer one new solid food at a time to your infant to see how they react


    Wait a few days before offering another new food


    Work with your pediatrician to find out which food(s) caused the allergic reaction

    Get more information at American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

    How to Prepare Food Safely

    Learn what foods can cause choking hazards, and how to prepare them in a way that is safe for your child.

    Choking Risk


    Safe Solution


    Marble-sized or round foods can get stuck in a child’s throat.

  • Dried fruit
  • Hot dogs
  • Cut into short strips rather than round pieces.

    Smooth and Slippery

    Smooth foods can slip down a child’s throat before they have a chance to chew.

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cooked pasta
  • Quarter the food or chop into small pieces.


    Sticky foods can “ball up” in the airway and get stuck.

  • Peanut butter
  • Fruit roll-ups
  • Spread thinly on crackers or bread. Or, cut into small pieces.

    Hard to Chew

    Foods that take a long time to chew or are hard to break down can get stuck.

  • Bagels
  • Large pieces of meat
  • Cut into small pieces.

    Hard and Crisp

    Foods that break into chunks may slip into the throat before they are chewed.

  • Pretzels
  • Chips
  • Raw carrots
  • Other raw vegetables
  • Cook until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Or, break into small pieces.

    How to Keep Kids Safe from Choking

    Learn how to keep little ones safe during meal times.

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    Take Small Bites

    Make sure kids eat small amounts, one bite at a time.

    Watch Them Closely

    Stay with your child while they are eating.

    Make Sure They Sit Up

    No eating while lying down, walking, or running.

    Have Them Stay Calm

    No yelling or horseplay while eating.

    Have Them Eat Slowly

    Chew each bite thoroughly without rushing.

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