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Tips To Get Your Kids to Eat Good Foods

parents and kids prepare a mealFor those of us who have children in the house, we know it can be hard to get them to eat good foods. They can have a picky appetite. This hold true for some adults as well.

Many children have turned away from healthy and good food choices and have dictated what they will eat, famous foods such as chicken nuggets and mac and cheese have become a stable in many households. As parents, we know that they need to be eating something that is nutritious but getting them to try something new can be a challenge. Luckily there are multiple ways to getting children to start picking new, healthy food choices and giving them some independence and involvement will be key.

First, children learn their eating habits from their environment, this includes culture, media, but most importantly their parents and family. Parents’ attitudes and habits around food can lead to healthy or disordered eating. It is important to expose children to a variety of good foods, praise them when they choose healthy foods over unhealthy foods, but most importantly you will want to make sure that those around the child eat nutritiously as well. Seeing others as role models for eating healthy will pave the way for them to choose those similar good foods.

The Self-directed Way to Good Foods

Let children be their naturally curious selves. Giving them the opportunity to go to a farm or local farmer’s market will pique their interest in foods like fruit and vegetables. Let them explore and find all the different shapes and colors vegetables and fruits grow in and let them pick which ones look best to them. Another educational approach to this idea is to provide pictures and videos that explain how food works in the body. This visual activity will help them to learn the benefits of that particular food.

Give children some independence! Provide different options for your children to choose from. It may not seem like much of a difference between choosing to eat apple slices or celery with peanut butter, but it gives kids the independence to decide what they desire. The trick is while this is happening, you are still in control of nutrition. Kids will be more excited to try a new food or healthy dish if they feel as though it was their idea. This can be seen more by letting the kids be a part of meal planning.

Getting them involved allows them to have their say so they feel that their voice is being heard. There would be some guidelines for this to encourage good food choices and avoid unhealthy food choices at every meal. The parent would explain to the child what is needed at each meal, this gives them options. For example, one meal would need to consist of 1 serving of vegetables, 1 serving of fruit and 2 servings of protein. Then the child would give their choice of food item that they would like as part of this meal. Snacks are an essential part of kid’s daily food consumption.

Sometimes it may seem like all they do is snack, but snacks are not a problem as long as they are nutritious. Snacks should be rich in protein and fiber since they’ll keep the child full for longer periods of time. Giving your child healthy snack choices will give them exposure to new foods that you can integrate into dinner and lunch as well. These good food options include, apple slices with peanut butter, nuts, carrot or celery sticks with hummus, fruit and cucumber slices, just to name a few.

Offer Variety and Choice

It has been found that kids are more likely to give a new food a try if they have had a hand in making it. Get the kids in the kitchen! Basic tasks like measuring ingredients and stirring a bowl are all great starting points. When they perform these simple tasks, they’ll see how snacks and meals come together, this sets them up for the rest of their lives.

Preparing healthy meals as a child they will be more incline to prepare healthy meals for themselves as they get into adulthood. Introduce foods more than once with different preparations as taste changes.

Foods should always be offered in a variety of forms and with different seasonings. When trying to incorporate healthy food choices, it is best to mix it with foods that they already enjoy. For example, dipping vegetables in their favorite dipping sauce, or mixing vegetables into a pasta dish or into an omelet. Never force picky eaters around you, just do what you can to encourage them and applaud them when they chose the healthier choice. Lastly, it is important to eat together as a family.

Life can be busy with schedules, but eating together, around a dinner table is important. This is the time when families can disconnect from the outside world and just be with each other, talking about their day and eating their nutritious meal that as a family has made together.

Give these healthy tips a try and be amazed at the new and good food choices that your children crave. Remember that this will work for any picky adult eaters as well. They too may surprise you in trying something new and nutritious.

Contact us at The Wellness Connection for more information!

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