As a parent, it can be frustrating trying to get your child to eat certain foods. The young palette does not usually appreciate new colors, flavors and textures in food. However, teaching children good eating habits at an early age can help them continue to make healthy choices throughout their lives.
Every child is different. Some are content to eat three meals a day full of fruits and vegetables, while others eat many small portions and are extremely picky. There is no “right” method of how your child eats, as long as he gains weight and develops with the right measures. However, it is important to continue offering a wide variety of foods to your child, even if he is extremely picky about what he puts in his mouth. That way, even if your child does not have a balanced diet on certain days, his weekly diet will be rounded. Just remember that as long as parents model healthy options and continually offer them (without pressure) to the child, eventually, the child will try them too!
Here are some tips to make sure your child has proper nutrition:
– Feed your child a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Include foods of different colors for nutritional and aesthetic purposes.
– Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables from a young age. This helps the child develop healthy eating habits early.
– Model healthy eating habits. Children often want to eat what their parents eat, so make sure it is nutritious!
– Put fruits and vegetables in your child’s favorite dishes. For example, a pasta sauce rich in diced vegetables or add cucumber and sprouts to a sandwich.
An important step in healthy eating is reducing the amount of processed foods in your child’s diet. Cookies, candy, and other packaged snacks contain large amounts of sugar and artificial flavors or colors. Even fruit drinks are in the same harmful category! Processed foods are high in calories without much nutritional value. Not only that, but all the chemicals in these foods can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, poor attention span, and obesity in children. Parents often notice that once processed foods are eliminated from their children’s diet, there is a significant improvement in overall physical and mental health.
Here are some tips on how to eat whole foods:
– Avoid processed / sugary snacks: chips, cookies, donuts, candy, etc.
– 100% fruit juice instead of sugary drinks (soda, iced tea, fruit drinks, etc.)
– Baked potato instead of French fries
– Use whole wheat instead of white bread / pasta / flour
– Oatmeal instead of sugary breakfast cereals
– Leftover slices of chicken or turkey instead of processed cold cuts
– Breaded chicken breast strips instead of store bought chicken nuggets
– Air popcorn instead of potato chips
– Popsicles made with 100% pure fruit juice
– Fresh fruits and vegetables as a snack: apples, bananas, berries, grapes, celery, carrots, cauliflower, etc.