Patience, perseverance, and a little bit of creativity will go a long way in making your kids eat healthy food for children. It is not surprising that your little ones are perhaps the most notorious picky eaters to date. Children prefer to eat unhealthy food options if you tolerate them. However, that shouldn’t always be the case. Now is the best time to build a solid foundation for proper nutrition by teaching and encouraging them to eat healthy food for children. Always remember that healthy food for children consists of a variety of food combinations from the four major food groups. As long as you are able to strike a balance with all the food groups – dairy, meat protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains – you’re all set. Here are some useful tips to get you started.
Introduce New Food Flavors One Step At A Time
Don’t allow your children to get in a food rut. Avoid serving them the same meal over and over again. Start by browsing or reading through recipe ideas from books, magazines, and even online. Gradually introduce new food flavors, pairings, and recipes each week in combination with their favorite food. You can start with greens. Dice new vegetables and incorporate them with their favorite food like pasta, soup, omelet, or casserole. Just make sure to mix it up every week by introducing new ways to cook veggies with their favorite meals.
Involve Your Kids in Food Preparation
The next time you go to the supermarket, bring your kids along and encourage them to choose their own fruits and veggies. In cooking healthy food for children, invite them to help you with the preparation. Nothing too high profile. You can ask them to wash the produce, stir the soup, or even help make fresh pasta at home. This is an excellent way to make your kids appreciate the fun side of cooking and eating, while also teaching them basic cooking skills. Studies have shown that children are more likely to eat the food that they helped prepare.
Do Not Radically Eliminate Desserts or High-Fat Foods
The key to healthy food for children, just like adults, is moderation. There is no need to completely ban ice cream or fries from your kids diet. If you do, it will only make them want more of these foods. What you need to do is make sure they know what’s good and bad for them. There’s always a room for sugary desserts or oily foods every so often. Teach them the value of small portions for these kinds of foods, or better yet find healthy alternatives that would still allow them to enjoy the same flavor without compromising the nutritional value.
Be Creative in Plating and Serving
We all know how children are enticed by anything visual especially colors. Apply that in food. Have as much color variations as you can when serving them their meals. You can even go as far as creating art pieces with their fruits and veggies. Invite them to join you in making the most visually appealing meals. Fruits and vegetables are already colorful ingredients. All you need is some creativity in plating and serving. Kids love dips. Why not create a delicious, low-fat veggie dip that will entice them to eat their greens and fruits.
Do Not Bribe Your Kids Into Eating Their Veggies
Contrary to popular belief, bribing kids to eat their vegetables can do more harm than good. Do not bargain with your kids with rewards such as having a full-on sugary dessert after eating vegetables etc. This will only heighten negative food associations where vegetables are requirements and desserts are fun, delicious rewards. Children tend to bring these negative associations with them towards adulthood. Just encourage them to eat one bite. Do not give up. They may not like it immediately but that doesn’t mean they are going to hate it forever.
Be A Role Model of Healthy Eating
This is a critical aspect of teaching your kids to eat healthy. Set a good example for them now as they are most likely to remember their parents words, attitudes, and habits about healthy eating. Let them see what they are missing. Eat your fruits and veggies; and let them know how delicious and nutritious it is. You can go overboard and use your acting skills if you want. Children are observant and keen about the elders around them. Be that fun-loving, healthy eater they would want to emulate as they grow older.