Tips To Help Your Child Eat Well

Offer your child healthy snacks, and keep sugary items for rare treats. A choice between an apple, banana, or a slice of cheese is a completely reasonable selection of snack options. If your child declines all of the healthy options, they are not hungry—they are looking for some other type of fulfillment. The same is true if they refuse water or low-sugar flavored drinks because they want soda or juice. It will take a while for them to re-acclimate their taste buds to healthy food, so be prepared for some possible tantrums. Stand your ground, and they will pass.

Buy fresh, flavorful foods. Make sure the fruits and vegetables you purchase are ripe and fresh. Children do not have a natural aversion to fruits and vegetables, but almost all people have an aversion to bad food. Try new foods with your children, including fun fruits and vegetables.

Do not overcook foods. People often dislike the way foods are prepared, rather than the foods itself; however, if they've never had it prepared well, they often do not realize this. Over cooked fish is dry and tasteless, but appropriately cooked fish is firm and full of rich flavor. Mushy vegetables can make almost anyone dislike healthy foods, but crisp, fresh vegetables full of color and zest are a treat.

Let children help. Encourage children to find new healthy foods to try. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick a new fruit or vegetable, then research what to do with it together. When they are old enough, let them help in the kitchen. Eventually, they should take over preparing a meal or two a week for the family, with plenty of praise for trying new and healthy recipes.

Explore other ethnic cuisines. Many countries eat a far healthier diet than the standard American fare. Cooking Indian, Thai, or Japanese gives your whole family a chance to expand their understanding of food, find additional foods they like, and keeps dinner interesting.

Feed your children whole foods, not processed foods. Whole foods, on average, take longer to digest because they are higher in fiber than processed foods. This keeps children full longer, helping curb the desire to sweets. Whole foods are usually lower in simple carbohydrates, helping quell insulin resistance.

Do not hide foods. Some people recommend "hiding' healthy foods kids don't like by using things such as puree'd vegetables in foods they do, and not telling them. This may get vegetables into your child, but it is not addressing the root problem and it is not helping them learn to eat healthy foods. The goal is to educate your child and your child's palette to make good decisions throughout their life, to appreciate and seek out good, healthful food. Fooling them into eating vegetables means your child is not learning these lessons.

Give kids a snack. Giving children a small, healthy snack such as a piece of fruit, cheese, cottage cheese, raw vegetables, or milk between meals will help keep their energy up and their desire for sugary snacks lower.

Limit the amount of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) they intake. HFCS causes the human body to store fat rather than burn it, can cause insulin resistence that causes carbohydrate addiction, and can raise triglycerides. This is especially important at breakfast, since most children will be going to school where they'll be getting very little exercise for several hours after breakfast.

Pack a lunch. School lunches in most of the country are virtually nutritionally void, and full of HFCS, simple carbohydrates, and preservatives. There are many creative lunch options for brown-bag lunches that will offer your child a balanced meal that is tasty and fun to eat.

Let children help. Encourage children to find new healthy foods to try. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick a new fruit or vegetable, then research what to do with it together. When they are old enough, let them help in the kitchen. Eventually, they should take over preparing a meal or two a week for the family, with plenty of praise for trying new and healthy recipes.



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