I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time getting my toddler to eat what I want her to eat. I’m trying to set a good example, but she is so headstrong that I often feel defeated. Today, Kelly MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN, the Manager of Nutrition for EverydayHealth.com, is here to give us some tips on keeping your family healthy. Please help us Kelly!!
When I was younger I used to watch “Leave it to Beaver” with my mother and dream of the day when I could be just like June Cleaver – the perfect 50’s housewife. In my imagination, it would be simple, (second nature, really) to wear a beautiful dress and heels as I prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my family.
Now that I’m older and out in the “real world” I can’t imagine trying to be June Cleaver. Life is so busy that when you add the task of feeding a family a healthy diet each day, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few tricks to help make things a little more nutritious and enjoyable when feeding your family.
Fill Your House with Healthy Foods:
• Fruits and Vegetables in all colors of the rainbow are a great source of the valuable nutrients your child needs.
• Whole grains are full of fiber and other beneficial nutrients.
• Low-fat dairy products are a great source of calcium and protein.
• Lean meats and fish add protein to your child’s diet without adding too much fat.
Feeding the Picky Eater:
• Keep trying! It may take up to 15 tries before a child will like a new food. If your child refuses a food the ﬁrst time, try it again in a different form. Children are often more receptive to raw veggies than to cooked varieties.
• Add extra fruits and veggies to your children’s foods. Bake fruits or veggies into a mufﬁn, put fresh fruit in a smoothie, or puree cooked sweet potatoes into ketchup.
• Don’t offer your children a separate (less nutritious) meal such as mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and French fries on a daily basis. Remember, they can’t eat what you don’t give them.
• Don’t force your children to eat all of their meal before they can have dessert. This will make them associate the healthy foods with punishment and sweet foods with a reward.
• Take your children grocery shopping. Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try that week.
• Make foods visually appealing. You’d be surprised what a difference it can make if you make those fruit slices into a happy face. Be creative!
• Lead by example. Your children will be more likely to eat well if you do.
• Let your children help you make a dish. They’ll be more likely to try it if it’s something they’ve had a hand in making.
In the end, be patient. The time you invest in teaching your children to eat healthy foods will be well worth it!
Guest Blogger Kelly MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN is the Manager of Nutrition for EverydayHealth.com
An apple a day…