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Getting your Kids to Eat Healthy Foods

By Jamell Andrews

Parents often have meal time battles with their children. The kids decide that they do not like what you are serving them, or they just decide that they would rather have something else. Whatever the reason, one of the worst things you can do as a parent is give in to your kids’ demands and fix something else for them to eat.

Early Conditioning

Children learn early on whether you are going to give in to their tantrums or not. If you start giving in to them when they are very young, then they will learn that all they have to do is scream, cry, and/or refuse to do something and you will fold like an unsecured tent. If you do not want this to be the pattern of your relationship with your kids, then the best thing you can do is stick to what you tell them from the beginning. Tell your young ones to eat healthy foods.

When it comes to meal time, present them with whatever you have prepared and let them know that this is their only option until the next meal. It isn’t going to hurt your children for them to skip a meal now and then, so don’t think that they will starve if you don’t feed them something at every meal.

If you present them with a meal, let them know that this is their only food option, and then stick with what you have told them, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that your children will become a bit adventurous when it comes to trying new (and even healthier) foods.

Do Not be Afraid of Mild Spices

Children do not have to be fed a steady diet of bland foods. Try incorporating oils, herbs, and garlic to jazz up some otherwise boring vegetables. Although it might be wise to steer clear of foods that have a very strong odor or taste, it might actually help your kids to develop a better appreciation for a variety of different foods if you learn to spice them up a bit.

Instead of serving plain vegetables as a side dish along with some other foods that your kids are much more likely to be interested in eating, try incorporating vegetables into inventive side dishes, or even main dishes such as casseroles or pastas.

Do Not Force the Issue

We all have memories of being forced to eat something as children that we absolutely hated. If you can tell that your child is genuinely repulsed by something, do not force him or her to eat it. It is perfectly okay to make them eat one bite of something new, but if they are gagging and/or nauseated by it, do not make them eat any more. Of course, you will need to learn the signs of true revulsion so that you can distinguish between the real thing and the fake so that you don’t wind up letting them off the hook all the time.

If all else fails, you can always fall back on the old, “no dessert if you don’t eat your dinner” standby. Sometimes this is all it takes to prompt reluctant children to eat the food that is in front of them.

One Response to “Getting your Kids to Eat Healthy Foods”

  • Yes I agree with not letting the children control you! Just like adults, they WILL get used to new “healthier” foods especially if they see you eating it. But also we must appreciate there are some foods that truly aren’t the right foods for us, and perhaps they are avoiding those and not just being picky.

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