- Limit the amount of junk food, including soda and juice drinks, in your home. Children can’t eat food you don’t have. Don’t buy the stuff and then pronounce it off-limits -- this only makes forbidden foods seem all the more desirable. So keep your purchases of junk food to a minimum.
- Set a good example. Many children follow their parents’ lead when it comes to eating. If you follow healthy and nutritious eating patterns, it’s likely your children will, too.
- Offer your children lots of options. Many children are still developing a taste for food. Just because they don’t like one vegetable doesn’t mean they won’t like others. Try offering them a variety of healthy foods. And don’t give up -- even though you were able to entice Ray-Ray to eat those roasted carrots and Maddy has no use for them, that doesn’t mean she’s a lost cause. Like adults, children have different palates. But every child can learn to like at least a few vegetables and fruits.
- For toddlers, cut foods into unusual and creative shapes. Making food fun sometimes makes it more enticing, especially for younger children.
- Put food into fun containers. Preparing a meal and storing it in individual containers allows you to control portion size. And using fun containers or applying decals or stickers makes mealtime more festive.
- Have your child participate in meal preparation. Children who are able to participate and help select the ingredients when preparing meals may be more receptive to eating the finished product.
- Plant a vegetable garden. Let your child help tend a home-grown vegetable patch. He or she may be proud to enjoy the bounty of your joint labors.
- Prepare foods in unusual ways. Why don’t you stick a tomato in the blender and let your child drink the result? Have fun, and be creative!
A Answers (3)
Rovenia Brock, PhD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredHere are some tips to help make healthy food seem like an attractive alternative to junk food:
Boston Women's Health Book Collective, answered
The most important step we can take in encouraging our children to eat well is to eat well ourselves. Here or are some helpful guidelines:
- Stock your kitchens with nutritious choices, like fresh fruits and vegetables, nut butters, hummus, yogurt, cheeses, whole-grain breads, and the like.
- Children appreciate the opportunity to make their own choices about food. If all the choices available are healthy, children have lots of autonomy when it comes to eating what they like.
- You can also make healthy foods more fun by preparing them creatively. For example, cutting vegetables into interesting shapes and serving them with a yogurt-based dip makes them seem like a fun food adventure.
- Many children enjoy eating with their fingers, and fresh fruits and veggies make great finger food.
- It is important to let kids decide when they are hungry and when they are full, so they learn to trust their own sense of hunger and satiety. Helping them to trust themselves teaches them an important lesson they can use in regulating their eating throughout their lives.
- Talking to your kids about food and involving them in growing, buying, and preparing foods can develop their interest in the foods they eat. Have them read product labels for you in the supermarket.
- Try to find a small space, even if you are in the city, to grow something.
- Have older kids take turns at cooking meals. Even a three year-old can chop soft vegetables with a table knife, spread nut butters, help mix batters, or add ingredients to almost any recipe.
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• Ensure that a wide variety of healthy foods are available to your child.
• Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy options are good choices.
• Never let your child skip breakfast.
• Limit the amount of food eaten that are high in saturated fats or sugar
• Eat at home, instead of eating out.
• Frequently eating out is associated with obesity and higher body fatness.
• Eating fast-food frequently is associated with higher intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugary drinks.
• Eating fast food frequently is associated with decreased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and milk.
• Have your child help when cooking. Let them choose some healthy options for the week.
• Encourage your child to be more active and set an example.
• Set aside time daily where kids are not allowed to watch TV, play video games, or use the computer.
• Let your child pick the activity for themselves or the whole family.
• Be active with your child and make it FUN!• Make eating healthy and being active part of your family’s routine.