5 Ways to Get Your Kids Eating Healthier
As an adult, there are probably several foods you would prefer to avoid. However, kids take the cake when it comes to picky eating. Most kids have food aversions that make mealtimes a struggle, especially when it comes to nutrient-rich vegetables and fruit. Even so, it’s important that at least half of your child’s plate is comprised of fruit and vegetables.
Get Your Kids Involved
Your kids are much more likely to eat healthy food when they play an active role in choosing what they eat. Get your kids involved in grocery shopping and food preparation to make them feel more empowered. At the same time, it will be a positive learning experience. Regardless of your child’s age, you can:
- Ask your toddler to choose their favorite red fruit at the grocery store.
- Get your 7-year old involved with choosing side choices and entree.
- Allow your adolescents and teens to prepare one meal a week.
In any case, the more involved your child is in the planning process, the more eager they will be to try new, healthier foods.
Be the Difference You Want to See
One of the most important ways to get your kids to eat healthier is for you to eat healthier. Your kids may have a difficult time buying into a healthy meal plan if they see you consuming junk foods and soda. Make sure you eat a wide variety of healthy foods, consume at least five fruits and veggies every day, and try new things. Although your kids may not eat exactly what you eat, they will notice your healthy eating habits and be more inclined to follow.
Certain Foods Are Best Paired with Creativity
When it comes to food preparation, the more variety the better. Just because your child may not like sweet potatoes the first time around doesn’t mean you can’t prepare them a different way next time.
In addition to the way you prepare veggies, pairings are important. For instance, if your child doesn’t like bananas, but loves peanut butter; you can offer them a slice of banana with peanut butter on it. You can also introduce new healthy foods by pairing them with meals your child already loves.
Try the One-Bite Rule
Younger children are notorious for looking at a food, such as broccoli, and instantly exclaiming “I don’t like it”. The one-bite rule is a simple concept that works amazingly well on younger children. Encourage your child to at least try one bite of the food before they determine they do not like it. Most research suggests the more your child experiences a particular food, the more likely they will get used to it and enjoy the taste.
Don’t Push Too Hard and Always Praise Success
Once you initiate the one-bite rule, it’s important to avoid forcing them to finish the entire plate. Fighting, punishments, and conflicts will create a negative association with meal time for your child. At the same time, the more discomfort and pressure you associate with a particular food, the more your kid will dislike it. It’s best to use positive reinforcement instead of negative pushing.
Contact Stepping Stone Pediatrics
Implement a vibrant mix of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet to promote healthy mental and physical growth. The practitioners at Stepping Stone Pediatrics bring a wealth of experience helping parents make healthy lifestyle choices for their children.
Contact Stepping Stone Pediatrics today by calling 770-515-9000 to schedule an appointment or speak to one of our pediatric nutrition specialists.