Getting Kids to Eat Healthy New Foods
So you're trying to eat healthier, make new recipes, try exotic foods even...and you think you have to prepare a separate meal for your child? No way!
It's so important to teach our kids healthy eating habits. Their bodies are growing, their brains are developing, and THIS is the time to get them hooked on healthy foods! Is your child addicted to chicken fingers and fries? Do you think they can't change? Yes they can! And it's not as hard as you might think.
I won't lie to you, the first time you try it, there will be dirty looks, raised voices, tears even, but if you calm down and take a deep breath, you'll be able to pull yourself together and not do those things! I say this in jest, but in reality, you might actually have a lot of anxiety about introducing something new to your child, especially if they are quite opinionated on what they want to eat. But your attitude is everything!
So here it goes. It's dinnertime. You've prepared a new, healthy food. Here are my suggestions on how to get your child to eat it:
- First, don't give them a snack within 3 hours of dinnertime. A hungry child is more likely to try something new. Give them water if they wish to drink before dinner.
- Smile and be relaxed when presenting the food to your child.
- Explain what you'll be eating, that you've worked very hard on preparing it, and you think they will like it.
- Explain to your child the benefits to eating this yummy new food (vary this according to age; younger children might enjoy, "It will make you grow big and strong," or "this will make your tummy smile." Whereas older kids might actually like to know, "this food helps to strengthen your immune system" If you don't know the benefits of what you're eating, google it (or contact me for a health history consultation and you'll learn these things)
- Serve the new food alongside a small amount of something familiar or something that they are more likely to eat (not a donught, but maybe something more like applesauce).
- Place a "condiment tray" on your table. Tell your kids they can taste the food and then add one or two condiments to "personalize" it to their own taste. (On the condiment tray, include ketchup, various mustards, low sodium soy sauce, vingegar, olive oil, various seasonings, including Kelp granules, sea salt, pepper, fresh parsley, dried or fresh Italian seasonings. It's best to just place small amounts of each out, so your child doesn't fill her plate with ketchup.)
- Finally, if none of the above works, it's okay to bribe your child. Maybe give them a quarter if they eat 4 bites. Or offer special rewards, like 15 minutes of extra time to do what they wish before bed, if they eat a specified amount of the food.
Bottom line, it will take effort. But it is worth it. The health of your child is worth fighting this little battle. Nourish their bodies. They'll thank you for it (someday...hopefully).
To find out more on how you can change the health and eating habits of your family, contact me for a free health consultation (/contact/). I offer a 6 month program that can be geared specifically toward improving your family's wellness. It includes lessons on healthy shopping, and lots of ideas on how to prepare quick nutritious meals, even if you're super busy.
Enjoy your day!