“Just try it!” says every parent ever. Making sure your child maintains a healthy diet can be challenging—we are here to assist.
Although, as parents, we too might prefer an ice cream cone to a carrot stick, we know the importance of a balanced diet. Our kids, on the other hand, are a little harder to convince. Here are some tips—straight from the parents of picky eaters—to help you and your child make healthy choices.
Make food interesting.
Allow your kids to play with their food, count their peas, arrange their fruit by color—anything that holds their interest. Just remind them to take bites while they’re at it!
Get your kids involved.
A trip to the local farmers market or the grocery store is an adventure for a small child. Let them pick out one or two healthy items during each visit. This will be the food they snack on during the week.
Model healthy eating.
If your child sees you snacking on a banana during the day, they will be more inclined to do the same. Try keeping yogurt, apples or almonds on hand. These yummy fillers are not only healthy snacks for kids, but they taste good, too!
Pack your own lunch.
Pack more fresh fruit and veggies into your child’s school lunch. Pre-packaged snacks are often loaded with salt or sugar.
Use your words.
Explain to your child why it’s important to drink milk. “Milk will help your bones grow strong,” you may tell them. Or, “carrots will make your eyes shiny.” They may not understand just yet that carrots are high in vitamin A, a nutrient essential for good vision—the mantra, however, will stick.
Adjust your attitude.
Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice cream sundae is what makes life fun. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.
Introduce new foods.
Instead of pasta noodles for spaghetti, use spaghetti squash. Instead of white flour, try coconut or almond flour. These healthy alternatives can be just as delicious. Take note of ingredients in your favorite recipes that you may be able to substitute for healthier alternatives.