Many parents deal with the struggle of getting their kids to eat healthy foods. There are many different reasons why your child may be resistant towards healthy food options. Two of these reasons could be because a lot of unhealthy foods are advertised to kids and they could be experiencing peer pressure from friends. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow your kids to watch TV or limit time with friends. It means that the more that you can incorporate healthy foods into your kids’ routines, the more they will want to try healthy food options.
5 Different ways to ease your child into healthy eating
- Leave healthy snacks out on your kitchen counter in a bowl such as fruit and low sugar granola bars. Kids will be more likely to reach for these healthier snacks because they are visible and within reach.
- Introduce different ways of eating fruits and vegetables that the kids will enjoy. Try making celery sticks with peanut butter or almond butter on them or apple slices with maple syrup drizzled on top. This way your kids are still getting a sweet taste with the nutrients they need.
- Praise them when they choose healthy foods on their own. Giving your kids a smile or telling them that’s a great healthy choice can help them to make better choices in the future.
- Be the role model for your kids. If you eat healthier choices your kids will most likely eat healthier choices. If eating healthy is a challenge for you as well, you could try to choose a one healthy food a week and try it together as a family.
- Involve your kids with making healthy meals. Have them help and prepare meals with you. The more exposure to foods and the cooking process the better. Often time when kids feel like they had a hand in making the meal, they will be more likely to try the meal.
How To Deal With Picky Eater's
Picking eating can be due to the following:
- Addiction to foods or ingredients that create inhibition
- Zinc deficiency can cause poor sense of smell and appetite
- Texture, smell, or other sensitivity
- Anxiety about new foods
Here's what to do:
- Always provide food the child likes in addition to the one "new" food
- Involve your children in food preparation to one "new" food
- Small taste, 1/2 teaspoon, let child determine the amount
- Inform them, let child know whether it is sweet, salty or sour
- Let them spit it out
- Try and try again, at least 15 times, spread out the trying, research shows you need to keep exposing the food to children before they say yes
- Try new food in a texture they prefer - crunchy, smooth, etc.
- Avoid being emotionally "attached", children sense anxiety
- Keep mealtime calm. Visualize child eating/enjoying new food
- Avoid forcing or pushing - maintain trust
- Choose rewards or other encouragement
- Make sure the whole family participates - serve everyone at the table
- Make it fun!
Getting kids to eat healthy is often a challenge and takes time, but with effort and instituting many of the above options, you can begin to see progress.