Offering a variety of foods can aid our children in getting the proper nutrition they need from each food group. Children also are more likely to try new foods when they have developed a taste for other types of foods. Cook together as a family, eat together, make mealtimes family times.
Include Kids While Cooking
Get creative in the kitchen and include our little helpers in the creation of food. More likely than not, kids that have a hand in making the food will give it a try. Give them small tasks such as measuring ingredients, mixing the bowl or tossing a salad together are great places to start. As our little helpers are doing these simple tasks, they start seeing how meals come together. A fun way to include your child is to name a dish after them like “Jack’s Salad”. Cooking with younger kids can be hard work at a slower pace, but payoff is well worth it!
Snacks are in fact life for children, but it is important to snack smart and portion size. Usually if children snack all day by dinner time, they have no appetite to try something new. Attempt to hold off at a certain point in the day and instead give them a taste of what’s cooking for dinner such as veggies or broth. It is simple to hand over a bag of cheese crackers to a cranky child, but to stay on target for developing healthy eating habits it is best to shy away from those crackers. Target snacks that are rich in fiber and protein and this will keep your child fuller longer.
Smart Snack Options: Apple slices with peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, nuts, carrot or celery sticks, low fat string cheese, fruit slices dipped in yogurt, sliced pears & ricotta cheese, whole grain crackers and nut butter.
Lead by Example
Children are majorly influenced by their everyday environment (family, culture, media). Our attitudes towards food as parents is especially important. Children absorb attitudes surrounding eating habits healthy or unhealthy.
– Expose kids to variety of food groups
– Give them praise when they choose a healthy food option
– Do not use food as a reward
– Great habits as a child can mean exceptional habits for life