Updated: Mar 28, 2021
👧👦Children's 🥦Nutrition👨🍳 Tips: How to spread healthy, even to the picky eaters; this is what we have learned🕵️♀️ - 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!!!!
WOW! Anyone else have mealtime battles with their kids, and looking to prevent them? 💁♀️ Currently our daughter is a struggle and medically there is many reasons to explain her struggles with food, but the doctor made it clear to not allow these explanations to become excuses and prevent the ability to learn and grow. So I'm going to set out for the next several days to make a post about tips to improve children's nutrition. 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 1️- STICK TO THE ROUTINE:
✅ Offer meals and snacks at about the same times every day. If you child chooses not to eat a meal, a regular snack time will offer an opportunity to eat nutritious food (see snack tips below). As your child begins to get accustom to this routine it can empower them to understand this is the "norm" so regardless if I do or don't eat, do or don't like it, it's happening. This will actually alleviate pressure for both of you. If they don't eat at one time, another eating time is around the corner. So DON'T force them. This starts to prevent that negative association they have with being forced to eat when they have been clear they are choosing not to. They also begin to think they are in control of the choice they are making to eat or not to it. Perhaps every two hours offer something (this allows options, which will allow you both to determine what works and what doesn't, without being worried they aren't getting enough proper nutrition. Each day may vary but rest assured within a weeks time and all those offering they will be getting what they need).
✅ Make the routine fun - color the meal times and the snack times on a clock as good visual, you can use to show it's not time yet.
✅Prevent low-nutrient grazing and filling up on drinks between meals and snacks. If the child doesn't eat at one of the scheduled times, they must wait till the next scheduled eating time. They can't get out of eating what you wanted and then beg or self serve themselves something they desire later. This is a bad cycle, that must be broken (so many of us fall into "something is better than nothing").
✅Serving foods from at least two food groups at snack times when possible - by pairing a favorite food (say peanut butter) with another your kid is less crazy about (say whole-grain crackers) you may get her to eat both. Try apples and cheese, hummus and steamed vegetables, yogurt and berries, or banana slices with a little almond butter. Studies show because they like and trust the one item they are more likely to try the second item as well.
✅ Also make sure water is offer consistently throughout the day. Over 80% of American's are dehydrated which can lead to a host of health problems. So get your kids in this healthy habit early on.
✅ SITTING DOWN - and eating as a family - this was huge. The routine of the actual act of sitting down, focused on the task at hand (giving our bodies the fuel it needs to feel good and perform as we desire). Depending on the age of the child take this opportunity to describe the body like a vehicle and how a vehicle needs fuel to work/run and so do our bodies, so it's so important we give ourselves the fuel it needs to do the work we want it to do. Discuss what items they think would help fuel their body the most. Some create an amount of time the child has to sit there, others do this based on conversation. But try to stay consistent, so the child understands they need to sit there regardless if they are choosing to eat the items. Also leading by example is huge in this area - so be mindful if you are joining your child during these eating times what are you eating.
✅ Set goals and make them clear - perhaps encourage your child to make a food chart -consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats and beverages you child drinks. After each meal reinforce the healthy habits, encourage them to review what they consumed and discuss how these items might help them (grow, dance, play sports, whatever their goals are). Ask your child if they think they are giving their body the FUEL it needs to work correctly and make it so they can run and play (or whatever is age appropriate). Empower them to set a goal to better fuel their body tomorrow and what are some things they can do to reach that goal. Some parents even believe in incentivizing reaching the goal with a reward others think being health and feeling good is the reward this is up to you and your parenting style.
Stay tuned for the next health tip # 2️: Respect your child's appetite -or lack of one. This one was huge for our success. If you want to be sure not to miss out on our tips go to our home page and enter your e-mail address in the subscriber area, so that we can send you health tips, recipes, parenting tip, updates, events and tons of value straight to your inbox!
Quick review of all these tips - 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.
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. Remember these kids will be the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you again for your support!!! #ChildrensNutrition #ParentingTips #HealthyEatingForKids #HealthyWarner