It can be a challenge to get your children to consume a healthy diet. They can be notoriously picky and can turn the dinner table into a battleground. There are some steps you can take to avoid this scenario and encourage your children to eat foods that are good for them.
Search in your newspaper, cookbooks, magazines and the Internet for recipes that you think your children will enjoy. Look for recipes that include nutritious ingredients that are combined and presented in a fun, appealing and tasty manner. This can help entice your child to eat more nutritiously without even realizing it.
Another little trick that you can use is to add vegetables to foods your child loves. For instance, add pureed vegetables to tomato sauce or even add finely chopped squash or other vegetables to baked goods. With a bit of creativity, you can sneak healthy foods into the foods that your child eats every day.
Encourage your children to help you cook. If they are involved in the process, they are more likely to eat the end result. You can even have them start their own garden, giving them ownership in producing food from the seed to the table. They are apt to be proud of their efforts and the results, and may surprise you by eating foods that you never thought would appeal to them.
Do not keep sugary, non-nutritious foods in your house. That way, the children cannot snack on them. Instead, offer them fresh or dried fruits, vegetables with a fun dip, a variety of nuts or other nutritious snacks.
If you have an artistic flair, you can use your creativity to make foods visually appealing. It can be something as simple as drawing a happy face on pancakes or whole grain bread, or using toothpicks to create a stick figure out of fruits or vegetables. Presenting your children with these motivating foods may make them more likely to eat foods that they ordinarily shun.
You can try to offer you children rewards when they make nutritious food choices. Perhaps fun stickers or a new book would motivate them to consistently eat their broccoli with out complaining, or maybe a trip to the playground would entice them to chow down their spinach with a smile.
One of the best ways to teach children to eat nutritiously is to set a good example. That means that you may have to change your diet to one that is more nutritious, but that is a win-win situation for everyone. Let your children see you savoring your fruits and vegetables during mealtimes, and when you snack, make sure they see you happily nibbling on carrot sticks or raisins instead of cookies and candy.
Luckily, most children learn to eat a varied and nutritious diet as they get older. In the meantime, you can encourage them to make good food choices by using the tips discussed above. It may take some effort on your part, but it will be worth it when your child grows up to eat nutritiously and is able to avoid many of the health problems that come with poor nutrition.