Is It Really Possible to Raise Kids That Eat Well? Part One
Kids can certainly be picky eaters, which means trying to ensure they eat nutritious meals can often feel like a challenge. Unfortunately, this leads many parents to cave to requests for sugary, salty, fried and otherwise nutrient-lacking foods. Not only can this lead to malnutrition, it can also be problematic for young smiles, which need key vitamins to remain strong and healthy. Furthermore, diets high in sugar can cause kids to develop cavities, which can set them up for a lifetime of struggling with poor oral health. To combat this, why not use some sneaky strategies to finally get your kids eating healthier meals that will be good for both their bodies and their smiles?
Think Outside the Brown Bag and Box
You probably already know that when given the choice between a home-cooked meal or something that comes in a box or brown paper bag, many kids will pick the latter. So one important way you can help improve your kids’ diet is by avoiding the drive thru, altogether. Simply don’t make it an option. That way your kids can adjust to the beauty of home cooking, and their tastebuds can adjust as well.
- One way to start making improvements to your kids’ diets is by making healthier versions of their favorite foods, such as baked chicken nuggets instead of the fried kind that come with a toy, and mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes.
- Over time, try to introduce more and more new foods, such as a new vegetable alongside an old favorite, each night at dinner, or at least once a week.
- Introducing new foods with flavors you already know your kids love, can also help them be open to the idea of eating more nutritious food. For instance, supply a low-sugar added ketchup for dipping your kids’ homemade baked sweet potato fries, or a yogurt-based ranch dip, for dipping fresh carrot sticks, celery and even bell peppers. Just make sure the sauces or dips, themselves, are healthy and not loaded with sugar, lest you contribute to creating potential dental problems like cavities.
- Presenting your kids’ food in cute or creative ways can also help pique their interest in trying new things. If they love pre-packaged lunches, for instance, use a bento box to section off age-appropriate portions of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and calcium-rich cheese. You could also include whole wheat crackers for familiarity and some extra fiber.