Almost all children are fussy eaters. With hoardings of hamburgers and pizzas flooding the streets everywhere, it’s a big challenge for parents to get them to eat healthy food nowadays. Parents thereby need to switch to some smart tricks that go a little beyond the usual “hiding healthy vegetables in tasty food” trick.
News reports often discuss about low activity and poor nutrition in children that are a result of deteriorating eating habits of kids. While educating innocent minds about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables may help a little but the key to actually getting them to eat them willingly is, to make them enjoy their food. It probably isn’t as easy as it sounds but here are a few innovative tips that health experts swear by:
Lead by Example
Parents must learn to incorporate healthy eating habits themselves before they expect their children to follow suit. Getting children to eat broccoli when someone else in the house is having a cheese burger treat will never work.
Encourage Children to Pick Their Own Vegetables and Participate in Cooking
Parents can give a few choices to kids, like spinach leaves, carrots, bell peppers, and pea pods, and ask them to pick the one they would like to have for dinner? Once the vegetable is decided, involve them in the preparation. Let them help around in the kitchen by putting in the vegetables and other ingredients in the pan and give them the entire credit of making the dish. Marvel at their cooking skills and how great the dish is.
Kids are much more likely to try various foods if they have been involved in their preparation. Adding a lot of seasoning to improve the taste of the dish also helps.
Prepare Healthy Dips
Give some healthy dip choices to children to enhance the flavor of their veggie sticks that otherwise do not taste that good. Ranch dressing is one healthy dip choice. As far as vegetables sticks are concerned – cucumber slices, celery, pea pods, broccoli, bell pepper strips, and carrots, are some of the options that can be tried.
If dip choices seem too limited, parents can get creative with the way they prepare their foods so as to make their children enjoy eating it. A good example can be preparing steamed broccoli with a little a salt and butter, and some parmesan cheese to go with it.
Rewards Do Help
There is a lot of controversy that surrounds this tip. Some people are of the opinion that rewarding children to eat healthy food probably jeopardize children’s intrinsic motivation to eat them themselves. So, in the absence of any reward, most kids will probably not opt for healthy foods that they might be eating otherwise.
On the other hand, a recent research conducted by experts at the University College London, including the renowned psychologist, Lucy Cooke, concluded that rewarding children to get them to eat healthy food really does work even when the rewards have been removed. Also, if monetary rewards do not seem like a good idea due to any reason, enthusiastic cheerleading does work great as well.
It is a known fact that has again been proven by the above research that it will take at least 15-20 servings for a child to develop a taste for a vegetable they do not like. So, parents must find out new ways to keep on incorporating these foods in everyday eating habits of their children and there is a good possibility that their kids will eventually learn to enjoy these foods and adopt a healthy lifestyle for a robust life ahead.
Dr. Brenda Lyttle is a practicing homoeopath, beauty expert, and nutritionist. She is a firm believer of holistic medicines and the tremendous therapeutic and preventive influences in our lives exerted by our every day healthy food habits. Dr. Brenda is also an expert on effective stress management and yoga. As an integrated healer, she has written innumerable articles on various topics, like human growth hormone, healthy living, best wrinkle cream, and others.