Helping your child or children to eat healthy in school, at home or out to eat can be challenging. With so many options and portions this can be a task.
We spoke with Tracy Martin-Turgeon of The Children’s Workshop for the following tips:
You can start early when you first introduce your child to food. Don’t give them sweets first. These are the taste buds that develop first. If your child tastes sweets first, chances are that broccoli is not going to be as tasty. Give your child a variety of vegetables first before introducing the sweeter things.
If you are past this stage; no worries. Here are some tips on eating out, dinning at home, and some snacks that are still healthy for that picky eater.How to make healthy choices while eating out?
- Try to make sure your child has all the main food groups on their plate. Most restaurants will have a vegetable option.
- Try not to order a bunch of picky foods before the dinner. Your child will fill up on this and not eat the healthy food.
- Many children will not eat a full meal. Try ordering a couple of extra sides that you know your child likes and share your main plate with them. Giving them a chance to try something new and also saving money.
- Talk to your child about ordering milk, only ordering a plate of fries to share with everyone, or ordering a side salad with their meal. Leading by example also goes a long way to heathy eating.
With school in session snacks are big on the list. When kids come home they want a snack. Try to think of snacks as mini meals. Pick from the food groups.
- String cheese and crackers. Grains help your child to feel fuller longer.
- Raw vegetables with low fat yogurt.
- Carrot sticks with peanut butter or with celery
- Apples and cheese.
Remember a snack is a snack and not your main meal. Stick to it as a snack and do not give your child a full bag of chips or continue to fill their plate. This will then not be a healthy snack.Dining in at home:
Getting your child to eat healthy at dinner can sometimes be a task. Some children just do not eat vegetables. There are many recipes that you can add vegetables into and your child would not know. You can add cauliflower or butternut squash to mac and cheese. You can also puree carrots and add them to a red spaghetti sauce. You want to give your child options such as a fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy and so on. It doesn’t have to be a lot of small portions.
Choosemyplate.gov has ideas and recipes for you to choose also. Have your child also pick some sides for dinner and if able have them help make it. When your child is part of the process of picking foods they are more apt to try different foods and learn how to eat better and healthy.
Resources: Myplate.gov and Dairy council.