Solace Blog

Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare

Healthy Food: How to Create Happy, Healthy, Eaters

January 18, 2019

Childhood is an exciting time of learning and exploration; throughout the younger years, kids learn important skills and habits that they carry with them for a lifetime.  Amongst those important things we learn as a kid? Healthy eating! Did you know what your child eats now shapes their health for years to come? Luckily, research shows that you can guide your children to a healthier future by helping them establish good eating habits while they are little.

Introducing New Foods

One easy way to introduce kids to a whole slew of new foods is choosing at least one meal per day to eat together as a family.  Take this time as a family to not only bond, but also model for your child(ren) what it’s like to eat healthy foods. Kids LOVE to imitate, so if they see you eating broccoli, chances are they’ll want to try it, too.

Encouraging Healthy Eating

Another easy trick to encourage healthy eating?  Create a home full of ready-to-eat healthy snacks.  Kids get hungry all the time, and if the healthy stuff is available, chances are they’ll reach for it.  Precut fruits and vegetables and store them in easy-to-see containers. Fill your fridge with low-fat cheese and yogurt, and stock your pantry with whole grain crackers and nuts.  The options are endless, and sometimes just making these snacks accessible is all it takes to get a little one asking for a healthy bite instead of a sweet treat.

A mistake a lot of parents make is negotiating with their children:  don’t fall into this trap! For example, do not tell your child “if you eat those green beans, you can have some ice cream”.  Bribes such as this send a message to your child that the green beans are not good.

Sweet drinks are often times loaded with sugar and calories and can fill a child’s small stomach leaving them with no appetite for a proper meal.  Avoid juices – and even milk – right before meal times so your child has enough room for the food you will be serving.

Lastly, be patient.  Research shows kids need to be exposed to a new food a minimum of 10-15 times before they might like it (learn more about being a picky eater vs. needing feeding therapy).  That’s pretty crazy, if you think about it. Needless to say, if you introduce broccoli to your child and they distort their face and spit it out, rest easy.  Chances are he/she might like it sometime in the future. Additionally, like adults, kids have specific likes and dislikes! Continue to introduce a range of healthy, colorful food to your kids, and overtime, some of them are sure to become favorites.

Share this Post