February 6, 2019
Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthier: 5 Simple Tips
As a Nutritionist in training and a lover of all things healthful, I get asked a lot by friends and family if my daughter is ever a picky eater. And the answer is a big, fat YES. While I still have not been able to get her to enjoy a piece of broccoli or even try my coconut curry chicken, I do feel there are a few things I’ve done that have helped her become a better eater
Involve Your Kids
I try to involve my daughter in the preparation of food as much as I can. She’s a bit young to be chopping vegetables, but she is a master lettuce shredded and vegetable washer. She also really enjoys measuring dry ingredients for baking. Whatever your kid’s age, I encourage you to find age-appropriate tasks for them.
Offer a Variety of Foods and Let Them Choose
I try to provide a variety of different foods for meals and snacks and let my daughter decide what to eat. This usually includes something from all food groups and always contains something I know she will eat like cheese or hummus. My doctor said to me “It’s our job as parents to provide our kids with healthy options and it’s our kid’s job to decide what they want.”
Let Them Feed Themselves
I noticed such a huge change in my daughters eating habits when she started eating more finger foods on her own and an even bigger change when she learned to use utensils (almost) on her own. All of sudden she started eating more food and was more open to trying new things. It is MESSY, but what isn’t with kids?
Model Good Behavior
Your child is more likely to pick up habits from what they see, not from what they hear. I like to put out big snack plates for both of us to share. My daughter gets a kick out of watching me “steal” some of her vegetables and it’s also fun to feed each other.
As I said, my daughter is no exception to the picky toddler. Even with all my efforts, there are still some days where it’s a battle to get a good meal in her. Add teething or a cold into the mix and it’s hard to get food in her at all. This is where a good smoothie comes into play. Smoothies are an excellent way to pack a ton of nutrients and maybe even sneak in some veggies. A banana, some frozen zucchini or cauliflower, your child’s favourite fruit, spinach or kale and some coconut milk make for a nutritious meal any time of the day. You can also add in a super food like chia or flax seeds. I like to freeze leftover smoothie into popsicle moulds.