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Encouraging Our Children to Eat Healthy

Being a parent means making sure our children are healthy. This not only includes being active both mind and body but also eating healthy. Unfortunately children can be picky eaters by nature. Encouraging them to eat healthy can be quite a struggle but a struggle that can be lessened with a few doís and doníts.

Encouraging Our Children to Eat Healthy

Itís not unusual for children to have bad diets, unfortunately. When theyíre little and we can control what they eat, we can ensure theyíre eating healthy foods. As they grow up, however, they develop their own tastes as far as food is concerned. They may only like to eat macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Teaching by Example

Children learn by example in almost everything. If they see parents, siblings, and friends eating potato chips and drinking soft drinks, theyíll want to eat those as well. The reverse is true; if they see everyone eating fresh fruits and vegetables theyíll be more likely to follow suit. So, if you want your children to become healthy eaters, the adults in the family will want to set the pace.

Offering the Right Foods

Offer your child healthy foods for snacks. Rather than giving them cookies or candy for a snack, offer fresh fruit like apples, oranges, or grapes, depending upon your childís age. If you donít have junk food in your home, your child wonít learn to eat it.

Experts say to offer your child a new food at least twenty times before they'll eat it. If youíre introducing a new food, put just a bite on their plate. Ask them to taste it; if they donít want to try it immediately, donít push them. Each meal you serve that food, continue to put a bite on their plate and ask them to taste it. Before too long theyíll do at least that.

Be sure youíre not introducing too many new foods at once. In fact, itís better if you only introduce one new food at a time until your child starts eating it. This means that if youíre trying to get your child to eat peas, wait until youíve had success with those before you introduce Brussels sprouts.

Taking it Slowly

If the food is on their plate, let them play with the food. They may roll the food around on their plate, make faces in it by putting other food into it or some other creative idea. If you allow them to play with the food, it wonít seem so intimidating.

Even though you might be tempted, donít hide vegetables in something you fix. This might backfire on you. Although your intention to get your child to eat vegetables is good, they may decide to stop eating whatever youíve hidden the vegetables in from now on.

Doing It Your Way

Your own parents probably made you finish everything on your plate ďbecause there are poor, malnourished children all over the world.Ē You donít have to follow in your parentís eating style. If your child doesnít want to eat anymore, donít make them finish their plate.

Give them what they like, to a point. If they like eating hot dogs look for ones that have lower fat content. If they want ice cream buy the single serving sizes so they wonít be tempted to eat more than they need.

Itís not easy having a picky eater but with a little help everyone can survive it. Be patient, allow them to investigate the foods themselves and stay persistent. It might take a little while but in the end they will be much healthier with all your perseverance.

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