Helping Kids Eat Well

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 26, 2017 · 0 comments

View food and eating with your child as an ongoing learning laboratory with endless opportunities to explore and learn.

Eat a colorful plate. By choosing foods of varying colors, kids automatically select a variety of food that offers a selection of different nutrients.

Eat at least 3 foods at each meal. Some of the combinations they pick will be odd, but they are getting variety and it doesn’t matter if they eat a piece of chicken with grapes and whole grain crackers. That is the foundation of a healthy meal.

Surprise them with wacky meal choices just for fun. Serve dinner with a bowl of popcorn instead of rice or potatoes. Cut up watermelon wedges instead of serving a vegetable for dinner. Serve raw veggies plus a dip instead of cooked vegetables.

Serve plenty of whole grains. These foods are naturally high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and low in fat. Kids traditionally like breads, pasta, rice and cereals. Use whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice and cereals made from whole grains.

Choose a diet moderate in sugar. Be honest with kids. Let them know that all sugar offers is a sweet taste. It has no vitamins or minerals, so we eat foods high in sugar less often. But, an occasional sweet treat is just fun. Don’t be too strict about sweets because it draws too much attention to these foods and makes them even more desirable.

Get off your seat and on your feet. Balance the food your family eats with regular physical activity. The earlier regular physical activity becomes a habit the less likely your child will grow into a couch potato.

Be a good role model. Children learn by living and watching what their parents say and do. Concentrate your eating messages on what your child can eat, not what he can’t and practice what you preach.

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