Does it feel as though you have tried everything to get your child to eat healthy with little or no luck? With schedules becoming increasingly complex and children who are continuously ‘on the go,’ finding time to ensure that your child is receiving proper nutrition can be a daunting task. Have no fear! – Follow these five simple rules, and getting your child nutritionally READYcan be both simple and fun!
Read Nutrition Facts and Serving SizeIt’s no secret that ‘moderation is key’ when attempting to keep your family healthy. However, that simple concept has become increasingly tricky. It is a common misconception that if something is “healthy” you should be able to indulge and eat as much as you want. However, this is simply not the case. Although trail mix might be a healthy after school snack, handing your child an entire bag of trail mix might not be the best option. Children often do not take the time to look at and consider to amount of servings available within their favorite treats.
Explain and Educate Have you ever encountered a child who asks “why” when presented when any given situation? Children are naturally curious creatures, as they continuously explore the world around them. If you tell a child “because I said so” after telling them to eat their veggies, you will likely be met with resistance. However, if you explain to the children that their favorite fruits and veggies have powerful vitamins and minerals that will give them the energy to play, you will likely receive a more positive response.
Add variety Your child might not like apples and he/she might not like peanut butter. However, if you put these two together, your child might find a tasty treat that both tastes good AND is good for their body. Experiment with different healthy foods and combinations. Adding a variety of food will not only expand upon the possibility of your child obtaining the most nutrients possible, but this will also enable you and your child to find new healthy “favorites” to add to the dinner table. According to Livestrong.com, when you encourage your child to eat a large variety of new foods, you are increasing your chances of a balanced, well rounded diet that will carry into adulthood (Kelley, 2014).
Days in advance
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! When you are running from work, to school, to extracurricular activities, it is inevitable that you will have various evenings that leave little time to prepare nutritious snacks and meals. This is where preparation comes into play. If you already have nutritious snacks prepared and ready to go, eating healthy can be simple and fast. One particular blog from Eartheasy.com (2014) discusses that the benefits of meal prepping range much farther than improved health. Additionally, meal prepping can save both time and money, leaving you with the resources necessary to spend less time preparing meals, and more time enjoying these with your family.
You At the end of the day, your children look to you as their role model(s). As a parent, you cannot expect your children to try a new food if you turn your nose up at the same dish. Children look at adults every day for added motivation and inspiration. Equally as important as eating healthy foods is your attitude toward health and nutrition.
Kelley, J. W. (2014, January 13). The Importance of Healthy Eating in Children. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/74307-importance-eating-children/
How to Simplify Meal Prepping. (2014). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://eartheasy.com/eat_simplify_meal_preparation.html