Ways to encourage your children to eat healthy foods

Ways to encourage your children to eat healthy foods

Children's habits form early, so it’s the job of parents and caregivers to teach about the benefits of healthy eating. In the short term, a nutritious diet helps children develop strong bones, grow, concentrate, maintain a healthy weight and stay active. In the long term, it could lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, joint problems, obesity and more.

Of course, appetites, allergies and food acceptance vary from child to child, but there are a few ways you can give your kids a head start for a lifetime of healthy eating:

Plan for success. Just like with your own diet, success is more likely when you plan meals and snacks ahead of time. Prep plenty of nutritious food on the weekends so your kids can have healthy snacks at their fingertips all week.

Take a dip. Vegetables, while necessary for a healthy body, aren’t always appetizing to young taste buds. Make them more appealing with healthy dips, like hummus, yogurt and chive dip or salsa.  

Get sneaky. Smoothies are a great way to hide the taste of less-loved ingredients. In a blender, add some healthy ingredients—such as baby kale, Greek yogurt or spinach—throw in your kids’ favorite fruit, top it all off with a frozen banana (and perhaps a tablespoon of honey if extra sweetness is needed) and blend.

Be patient and try again. Don’t give up if your kid hates artichokes or zucchini on the first try. Keep trying and give them the chance to acquire a taste for new ingredients.

Set a good example. You may not realize it, but your children pay attention to what you eat! If you talk the talk and walk the walk, they’re more likely to follow your lead.

When the days of soccer practice and gymnastics come along, you can come prepared with more than just orange slices and juice packs. Here are some before and after-activity snack suggestions.

Before the activity:

  • A handful of whole-grain pretzels
  • Half a wheat bagel with jam (try to buy jam with no sugar added)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Half a cup of raisins and peanuts
  • Carrot or celery sticks with hummus and pita

After the activity:

  • Applesauce and string cheese
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Trail mix
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Peanut butter on half a bagel

Posted: 7/02/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: children, eating, fruit, health, healthy, wellness

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