Tracy Martin Turgeon from The Children’s Workshop shares the following helpful advice for how to introduce healthy foods in your child’s diet.
- So where to start, sometimes it is just in the presentation that makes food look appetizing to children. If there is color and looks fun children may try it and like it. Such as kabobs. You can make sandwich kabobs with healthy choice lean meat, wheat bread, cheese, grapes, etc. Things your child likes and some new things to try.
- Don’t be a short order cook, sometimes we get tied up and we just want our children to eat. So we make three different meals to satisfy everyone in the family. Make family-style meals, add a little bit of what everyone likes, and let your children serve themselves. This teaches them independence and if they see other siblings or family members eating something they may try it as well. Make sure you have all the components from the food pyramid.
- Let your child be part of the process. Half the battle is letting your child help cook meals or prepare them. When they help pick out the foods, help make them, and set the table they feel part of the process and are more apt to eat dinner, rather than giving you a hard time.
- Allow snack and treats. Don’t have a lot of junk food but a healthy mixture. Let your child pick some treats up at the market. For every sweet, they want they will need to pick two healthy snacks. This way you are not taking away all the foods they like but introducing healthier foods slowly. You will be surprised at how much they end up like fruits and raw vegetables more so than the potato chips.
- Parents also need to model healthy eating habits. If you do not eat fruits and vegetables how do you expect your child too? Children learn habits from what they see. If you eat vegetables or have them on your plate, your child will want to try them as well. You don’t always have to steam or cook them.
- Getting your child to eat healthily does not have to be a daunting task. If you introduce foods slowly, let them be part of the process you are going to help your child to learn habits that will stay with them a lifetime. Thinking outside the box does not have to be that difficult. Reach outside your comfort zone and see what the possibilities are. You never know you might just try eating something you didn’t like as a child.
Resources: Food Network, Parents Magazine, Huffington Post