Monday, January 26, 2015

Healthy Family - Part 2 - Nutrition

When it comes to keeping your family eating healthy, we can face some pretty big challenges! I remember when my oldest son was born, I was so proud of how we were feeding him and how well he was eating. Just about any vegetable I put in front him he would eat. There was tons of variety and I though I had it all figured out. Then he got an opinion.

Some children are so adventurous with their food, others are very stubborn about what they will and won't eat. I have some pointers I would like to share, and I'm hoping some of these might spark some ideas for you:

  1. BE THE EXAMPLE - Our kids watch everything we do. From a very young age they are picking up on our habits and mimicking us. Your good eating habits can make a huge impact on the way your child feels about various foods. 
  2. IT'S ALL IN THE PRESENTATION - One thing my boys are very focused on is getting strong and fast. The first time I fixed salmon for them, I told them it was Magic Fish. They were very intrigued. I told them it was called Magic Fish because it was so healthy and it makes people very strong. I don't think they love salmon, but each time I make it they eat some. Often all it takes is you getting excited about a particular food to make your kiddo excited about trying it.
  3. NEVER ASSUME - I eat a lot of salads. I just really like them. I remember the day one of my boys climbed on my lap as I was eating a salad he started picking up pieces and eating them. Prior to this, I thought salad wasn't a "kid food". To this day, one of the boys' favorite meals is salad with a roll. They actually request it for dinner! Never assume that a food is not "kid-friendly". Never assume that a child will not eat it. Again, if you are excited about it and setting the example, they might surprise you!
  4. MORE COLOR - You know how day cares, preschools and playgrounds are filled with bright, colorful things? Kids are drawn to color. The more color you can put on your child's plate, the better! Bright fruits and vegetables can make a meal very appealing. 
  5. LET THEM SHOP - Include your kids in your grocery shopping experience. Take them to the farmer's market and let them choose a new item to try each week. 
  6. LET THEM COOK - This might sound horrifying, but if you can find ways to incorporate your kiddos into the prep and cooking of meals, they will take more pride in the meal. It may encourage them to eat if they are the ones that cooked. Preparing meals as a family is a great way to spend quality time together trying new things.
  7. NEVER STOP TRYING - My oldest son used to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast. Then he went through a stretch of time where he decided he didn't like eggs. I kept bringing them back in to our breakfast meals and he randomly told me one day, "I really like these eggs!" I don't know what changed his mind. Just because the kids are convinced they don't like something one day does not mean they won't come around and enjoy it later. Keep trying!
As much as I like to think that I will not make multiple meals for my family, I do occasionally fall victim to fixing different items for everyone, just to avoid a fight. Remember, you are the boss. It is your house, your kitchen and you buy the groceries. I am certainly not perfect when it comes to feeding my family, but I do my best to set a great example. 

Good luck!


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