Children are notorious for being picky eaters, but nutrition is so important to their growing bodies. There is life beyond macaroni & cheese, chicken nuggets and other kid favorites! Parents and guardians are key decision-makers when it comes to the nutrition, physical activity and health needs of their child. Each day, you can take advantage of the healthy choices around you and do little things that can affect your childís health in a big way. Community Health Charities and its member, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, encourage you to use these tips to help your children try new foods and make healthier choices:
- Get them excited about healthy food: Let them smell, touch, taste, ask questions and try fruits, veggies, yogurts and other healthy foods in the kitchen. Ask them what they think of the foods and let them know their opinions count.
- Get them involved in the kitchen: Let them help you with small, kid-safe jobs in the kitchen, such as mixing ingredients. Be sure to thank them for their help.
- Give them a say in what they eat: Help your kids make the right food and drink choices from an early age. If they have a say in decisions, they will be more excited about what they eat. Itís a great way to get them to take charge of their health.
- Take them grocery shopping with you: Get your kids involved in shopping decisions. You may spend a little more time in the supermarket, but itís likely to lead to less tantrums at mealtime.
- Keep the junk food out of the house: Your kids canít eat unhealthy snacks if you donít buy them. Kids will moan at first, but soon they will get hungry and reach for the apple instead of the chips.
- Add healthy food when you can: Find ways to add healthy ingredients into foods your child already likes. You can put blueberries in pancakes, chopped fruit on cereal or small pieces of broccoli in macaroni & cheese.
- Help them learn: Encourage your kids to draw pictures of healthy foods or write a poem. Post on the fridge and make sure they know you are proud.
- Sit down together: Try to set aside your meals as family time. Turn off the TV and enjoy eating together.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand: Bring healthy snacks when you pick them up from school, after sports practice and at other times when you know their stomachs will be grumbling.
- Make healthy food and meals fun: Try cutting up food into fun shapes or making faces out of fruit and vegetables. Putting healthy snacks such as oatmeal cookies or dried fruit into a fun bag can turn healthy foods into a cool snack for your child.
To learn more, please visit www.healthiergeneration.org.
Source: Alliance for a Healthier Generation