YOU are your child’s first teacher. You are a vital part in the formation of their eating habits. Set a good example by being a good role model. If children see their parents enjoying healthy and nutritious food, they are more likely to do so as they grow into young adults. If you say one thing and do another you might have to answer the question, “Why are you eating that when you said I couldn’t?” TALK to your kids – educate them why you eat certain foods and how eating certain foods help you to stay healthy and others should be eaten in moderation. Model for your kids and they will see that consistent daily choices translate into good health.
As a parent, you control the food that comes into the house. Have nutritious choices readily available when your child’s hunger kicks in. Kids will forage through the cupboards and the fridge when they’re hungry and they’ll eat whatever they find. Keep a variety of fruit in a bowl on the counter or better yet, have fruit cup up and ready to eat in the fridge. Have a designated shelf or cupboard for ‘snacks’. It could include popcorn, dried fruit, Triscuits, granola etc.
Just because you like broccoli doesn’t mean your child will but give it a try. He/she may not eat it the first three times it is offered but on the fourth time they may decide it is tasty. Be patient. If after twenty tries of offering broccoli he/she still isn’t a fan, so be it. Move on to something else.
Be creative! Make food fun.
Pancake faces Use banana slices for eyes (raisins for pupil), raisin for the nose, and a thin slice of melon for the mouth.
Meal on a stick Use an assortment of fresh fruit, (apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges) to put on a kabob stick. OR meat, cheese, black olives, pickles
Pepper bowls Take red, green, or yellow bell peppers and cut top off. Scoop out the insides. Let the kids fill the peppers with a mixture of cooked rice, beans, corn and spinach. Sprinkle with cheese or bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes
Sandwich Shapes Cut out sandwiches with cookie cutters. Decorate with veggies – olives for eyes, carrot slices for mouth and cherry tomato for nose.
*Thought for the day*
“I learned what is obvious to a child – that life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time; that each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.” Nicolas Sparks