Surprisingly, children are willing to try, and might even like, new types of foods. Be creative and listen to their ideas. Try not to let your own food preferences influence their choices. Keep an open-mind and strive to provide a variety of different foods from each of the five food groups: Whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy sources. Children younger than 2 years of age should drink whole milk.
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Here are 10 tips to help get kids to eat healthy, and actually like it.
Keep on Trying
- Children may not like a certain food the first time it is introduced, but continue to offer it because they may accept it after being exposed to it five or more times.
- Offer new foods at the beginning of meals or snacks, this is when children are the most hungry.
- Encourage them to try it in a matter-of-fact manner rather than forcing or bribing.
- Before offering children a new food, discuss the food. It's color, texture, aroma, size, shape rather than whether it tastes "good" or "bad."
- Be encouraging and provide a positive and healthy food environment.
- Help children become accustomed to the same food prepared in different ways such as raw, steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables.
Be a Positive Role Model
- Prepare and eat a variety of different foods.
- Be daring, try a new fruit or vegetable each week or month.
- Make the beginning of each month, "Daring Day," and prepare a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish with a new food item. Try different type of grain, like quinoa or couscous, or a new vegetable like yams or asparagus. Maybe test out an exotic fruit such as star fruit, mango or pomegranate.
- Be adventurous as a family and you may just be surprised by what your taste buds like.
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