👧👦Children's 🥦Nutrition👨🍳 Tips: How to spread healthy, even to the picky eaters; 🕵️♀️ - it's so hard to want to 💪empower your children's drive for independence when you are trying to "break" them of a poor habit. However, empowering 💪 your child is exactly the key to your success in preventing the mealtime battles and creating the change necessary for long term lasting healthy habits!!!! I share these tips not because I'm perfect or because I have it all figured out, but because I too struggle as a parent getting my children to eat healthy and thought it might help others to hear what we found helped us. Perhaps by sharing my findings, someone else won't have to struggle through as much as we did. I also share to provide hope that it is possible, you can get even the picky eaters to eat healthy!
TIP 7️: Involve kids in food prep:
✅ Recruit the child's help. At the grocery store, ask the child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table. Offer your toddler a choice of ingredients to toss in the blender for the morning smoothie, for example, or let the child use a cookie cutter to create fun sandwich shapes. Allowing them to take ownership of a certain aspect of the meal, is vital for lasting healthy habits. Trust them with tasks such as wash fruit and vegetables, chop, grate, peel, stir, set the table, take orders, serve the food items, or clean up afterwards. Studies show when kids are involved they consume more. The children involved in preparing the food also scored higher on positive feeling and feeling of control.
✅ Get them measuring - Teaching your children how to measure quantities of ingredients and how to portion the meals is imperative to healthy eating. You can have too much of a good thing. Educating your kids on how much of a certain food is a healthy amount and how much is overindulging can help them make better choices later. Less snacking, heartier meals, and a promotion of self-efficacy.
✅ Grow food items - doesn't matter if it's herbs, salad greens in a milk cartoon on the windowsill, or veggies in the garden. Having the children be a part of growing their own food items makes a huge impact on their likelihood of eating those items and enjoying them. The awareness brought to your children about where food actually comes from is an effective tool in getting them to consume more fruits and vegetables. Planting seedlings or small plants also lends itself to discussions on living greener.
✅ Provide the child with options to select from for meal/snack planning for the week. Or allow them to create a menu for a meal at home or choose recipes. By providing options you are still in control of the items they can select from the the child feels involved and empowered to make choices. We use a binder with printed out recipes in page protectors. I can control the recipes going in the book and Sit the child down with a recipe book and let them flip through and choice (at least one meals worth a week). Once they choose a healthy recipe, they’ll be more enthusiastic about making it.
✅ Keep it Fun - It’s important for kids to feel that they’re not just helping in the kitchen. Meal prep shouldn’t be a chore for them, rather something they feel is fun. Meal preparation doesn’t have to be by the book. Everything from ingredients to container choices is negotiable. If they want to cut vegetables in a funky way, pick random containers (that are reasonably sized), or even add random ingredients that may work–be open to it! If they’re enthusiastic about meal prep and adding ideas, that means they’re interested. Shutting them down will only cause them to disengage and eventually see meal prep as an exhaustive chore.
The acts of choosing, growing, preparing and/or eating food allow children to explore these skills and build confidence for a happy, healthy life.
Quick review - Tip # 1️: Stick to the routine; Tip # 2️: Respect your child's appetite; Tip # 3️: Be creative; Tip # 4: Be patient with new foods; Tip # 5️: Don't be a short-order cook; Tip # 6️: Minimize distractions; Tip # 7️: Involve kids in food prep. If you missed one of the posts about the detail of these tips just check out the Parenting section of the blog to find them all.
In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight — but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating. To truly acknowledge how hard it is to want to 💪empower your children's drive for independence when you are trying to "break" them of a poor habit. However, empowering 💪 your child is exactly the key to your success in preventing the mealtime battles and creating the change necessary for long term lasting healthy habits!!!! Remember these kids will be the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you again for your support!!! #HealthyWarner #HealthyEatingForKids #ChildrensNutrition #ParentingTips