Tuesday, May 4, 2010

“More Vegetables Please!” Tips For Getting Your Kids To Eat Well

By: Kelli Schulte
One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a parent is getting my kids to get healthy. Some kids are a little more “choosey” with their food than others. Some children actually have sensory issues like my daughter where the texture, smell, strong taste, or lack of tastes makes foods actually impossible for them to eat, and there is “food therapy” for that. I know this because we did it. Through prayer God has given me many ideas on how to get my daughter to try and be successful eating the foods her body needed to heal and be strong and healthy. I have developed a toolbox full of ideas that have been successful in getting kids to explore and enjoy new healthy foods. I will share just a few here. The key has been as a family we focus on fun and bonding not the food at mealtime.
TIP ONE: GET IT OUT! Get everything out of the house you do not want your kids eating. As you run out of the items you want to get rid of then replace it with a healthy alternative.
TIP TWO: YOUR TONGUE WILL CHANGE IT’S MIND: We have a game in our house when I present a new food. The kids need to try it three times to see if their tongue changes it’s mind about the food, often it does by the third bite. I also use this one when a re-occurring foods they do not yet like is put on the table and they say “ick ….”, I just respond with, “maybe your tongue changed its mind” eventually it does because exposure to foods is key!
TIP THREE: SMALL PLATES/SMALL PORTIONS: Instead of an intimidating dinner plate for your little ones use a salad plate instead. Place a small amount of each food you are serving for dinner on it. As your child take a few bites it will be gone and they will ask for more. Small portions sizes are the key. If they eat up a tablespoon of mashed potatoes and then ask for more they are successful and great eaters, in their eyes and yours! This helps children to establish on their own that they are good eaters. TIP FIVE: THE VEGGIE CHALLENGE: How do we get our kids to eat the essential vegetables? The first veggie tip I have is to try various veggies in different colors. For example my daughter loves cauliflower, so one day I brought home a yellow cauliflower. She was convinced that she was not going to eat it. I told her it would taste just like the white stuff, she ventured and took a bite, to her surprise it did taste just like the white stuff- Walla, success with a new food.
Another tip with veggies is a no brainer that took me forever to figure out and it is so simple, switch up your cooking methods. In my early cooking days I would buy frozen green beans and boil them until they were soggy, just like my mom did and my kids refused them time after time. I was discussing this with a friend of mine Robin and she suggested that I sauté them in olive oil and a bit of garlic sea salt. I didn’t know that you could sauté green beans, she explained to me how. The beans were wonderful and my kids ate up the entire pan. I then purchased my favorite cookbook called Asparagus to Zucchini it is full of ideas in how to prepare and store various veggies. It is like GOLD! Every time my kids do not like a veggie I simply whip out my book and try a different way to cook it.
Each child is so unique and wonderfully made and it is my hope that these ideas will help you make mealtime a fun and enjoyable family time. The more fun and relaxed your meal times are the more your kids will eat!

For more information of getting your children to eat healthy email Kelli at Kelli@kingdomkidsnutrition.com

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