How Can We Encourage Our Kids to Eat Better?
As parents, we know that our kids need a healthy and balanced diet to grow well and thrive- but getting the good stuff into them can often be tricky. Kids can be notoriously picky eaters and if you’re not careful, these habits can follow them into adulthood. Here’s how you can get them eating more of the good stuff, and all-around eat better.
Eat as a family
Eating together as a family has so many benefits. Allow your children to watch you enjoy and fill up on healthy, home-cooked meals. In time, even if it takes a while they’re likely to mirror your behaviour. You want them to see and learn from your own healthy food habits- such as making good choices, eating balanced meals and suitably sized portions. When you have a child that’s picky with food it’s easy for mealtimes to get tense, but keep things as relaxed as possible. A tense atmosphere, bribery, shouting or any other negative behaviour is likely to exacerbate issues even more.
Get them involved
Getting kids involved in cooking and encouraging an interest in food and nutrition is one of the best things you can do. Kids are more likely to try things if they’ve had help making them, and you can teach them about different ingredients and where they come from in the process. From baking healthy muffins to chopping herbs for mutton curry to washing salad, there are lots of tasks kids can get involved in. It might slow you down in the kitchen but it’s great bonding time, is enjoyable for them and might improve their relationship with food.
Be a master of disguise
If you simply can’t get your child to eat fruits and vegetables, you may need to become a master of disguise. Blend together cooked vegetables with herbs and tinned tomatoes and you have an easy pasta sauce that’s full of nutrition. Finely dice veggies in the food processor and mix them with ground meat to form the base of lots of different dishes. Blend together fruit and yoghurt into smoothies or freeze the mixture in lolly moulds to make ice pops. At least this gets the good stuff into their bodies while you keep trying them with different foods.
Speaking of keeping on trying them with different foods, this is a point not to overlook. Keep on trying, if they don’t like something today and turn it down, they might not tomorrow or next week. Children’s palates develop and change rapidly so it’s possible to grow to love foods they once hated. Try serving foods in different ways, in different sauces, using various shapes or sizes each time. They might be more receptive to certain things in bite-size chunks for example. Don’t be deterred!
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