Every parent knows how difficult it is to get kids to eat healthy and try different foods. Children will sometimes eat the same thing every day, for weeks, and refuse to try anything else. Eating habits are learned behaviors, so what they learn to eat at home early on, will stick with them into adulthood. Foods should not be restricted, as that will lead to them wanting those foods more. You can sneak vegetable purees in baked goods as well as meats to be sure they’re getting enough, but how do you get them to actually make those choices themselves?
What to do? Here are 5 ways to get kids to eat healthier and try more foods:
1. Recruit your child’s help: Ask them to help select fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. Encourage them to help you prepare meals, cutting vegetables, setting the table, and making salad.
2. Make it fun: Making heart shaped or your child’s initial, blueberry or banana pancakes. Making ants on a log (celery with raisins and peanut butter.) Making Egyptian eyes (cutting a circle out of whole wheat toast and placing a fried egg in the cutout.) Eating breakfast for dinner.
3. Stick to a routine: Serve meals at about the same time every day.
Information provided by Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN, is the national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes and Madeline Basler, Dietetic Intern, Queens College, New York.
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Let Mr. Divabetic help to inspire you overcome aversions to fruits and vegetables you think you don’t like, and even learn to love them with his new food game, Serve, Taste or Trash.
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