Junk food marketers are successful with children because they make food fun and approachable. Why not use the same tactics to make healthy foods just as pleasing? A few years back, a study by Just Kid Inc. pinpointed a few common characteristics that kids identify as fun when it comes to food. Try these approaches with 6- to 12-year-olds and see if you get any added enthusiasm when serving up healthy fare that is not processed and packaged.

Finger Foods. Children are tactile and like to be literally hands-on with their food.

Dipping and Scooping. There’s still a kid inside all of us who loves to do this!

Add-Ins. Anything that kids can mix into dishes or snacks gives them control and license to be creative. Think sauces, toppings and sprinkles.

Fillings and Frostings. These don’t necessarily have to be sugary. For example, pudding and yogurt can both be healthy fillings or “frosting.” Apply this concept to savory items as well.

Silly Shapes and Cool Colors. You can use cookie cutters for sandwiches and take advantage of nature’s rainbow in natural, whole foods.

Portability. Kids like taking food products with them.