One of the most important things we do as parents is teach healthy eating habits to our kids. The best way to do that is by setting a good example. Our children like to emulate us, so if we are eating healthy then our kids are more likely to have healthy eating habits. Perhaps healthy eating is a new venture for the entire family and trying to convince the little ones to eat healthy foods has been a bit of a struggle.
First you need to know an important little trick, nutritionists have stated that in order for a child to try a new food they need to see it four or five times. This means that just because the avoided the broccoli at dinner tonight, doesn’t mean that in a week or two they won’t try it if you keep showing it to them at meals. You can also try making a rule, similar to what we have in our home, and that is called the “No Thank You Bite.” Everyone at the table has to have one bite of everything on their plate. If they don’t try it how will then ever know if they like it?
Knowing that kids prefer the sweeter things in life, try introducing them to the sweeter healthy foods such as corn, tomatoes, sweet peas, mandarin oranges, cherries and strawberries. You can also mix these sweeter foods with other healthy foods that may be less appealing such as brussel sprouts. Make an apple and brussel sprout side salad. Get creative and make it fun, give the dishes you create names that kids will think are funny.
You can also let your children help in the process of preparing meals, buying groceries and picking foods, let them come up with their own recipes. If your kids are apprehensive about trying the healthier foods consider playing food tricks. Chopping veggies and fruits finely and mixing them in their favorite dishes will help. Carrots can be chopped finely and mixed in with your favorite spaghetti sauce and so can spinach and broccoli.
If burgers are a favorite in your house, finely chop or puree veggies and mix them into the burger meat when you patty the burgers. Use turkey or ground sirloin as healthier alternatives to hamburger. Casseroles can also be a fun new dish. Casseroles are fun because you can throw whatever you want in there for a really healthy and tasty meal.
Other healthy eating options for kids can include making fruit breads, such as banana and apple. Use real fruit, even if you buy a premixed box, you can still add real fruits to enhance flavor and nutritional value.
Healthy eating habits for kids means kids that are not overweight and are healthy. The sooner you can start practicing healthy eating habits for the family the better, but know that it is never to late to start. Making healthy eating choices can help the entire family get in shape and trim down and decrease the risk of many diseases. To learn more about making sure your kids are eating healthy visit Healthy Eating for kids.