How can I get my child to eat healthier?

Fun with food

Parents frequently complain that their children won’t eat vegetables or new foods. “When will my child learn to eat adult food?” This is a huge source of frustration for many parents.

The truth is that kids will eat healthy foods, but often only if there aren’t any unhealthy options available.  Furthermore, if children are truly hungry, they will be more apt to eat whatever it is that is in front of them.  So, you need to make your child hungry, keep healthy food present and keep unhealthy food away.

First, avoid non-water drinks and snacking between meals, unless those snacks are fruits or vegetables.  Have a salad or vegetables ready first, before the main meal is finished cooking, when your child is hungry.  Always have a variety of cleaned fresh fruits and vegetables out on the counter so the kids can see them.

Avoid the battles while at home.  Don’t buy the junk, not even the not-so-junky junk.  Don’t have it in your home.  If you have pretzels, goldfish, granola bars, or juice, they’ll see it, want it and the battle will ensue.  If the only options in your home are whole foods, then you will win every time … well, almost every time.

There are those stubborn kids that may take weeks before they give in to eating new foods.  Usually, these children are very good at holding out and, as their parents usually “break,” this technique works well for them.

Be persistent and be a good role model.  Your child will not starve with food in front of them.   Avoid encouraging them to eat the vegetables or new foods and do not bribe them.  Being matter-of-fact is far better.  You can say, “This is what we have to eat; there is no other option.”  The more verbal or emotional you get when they do not eat what you want them to, the more power you give them.  You keep more control if you show less emotion.

Watch this video with your child – so fun!!

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