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Moms Talk: How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Put down the french fries, applesauce and bacon because it's March — and that means National Nutrition Month.

March is National Nutrition Month, a national campaign — sponsored by the American Dietetic Associationdesigned to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits.

That means we should be thinking more about the food we eat — and about the food we give our little ones.

It also couldn’t hurt to consider about how we make sure our children get the nutrition they need.

You can reward your kids for eating healthy (if you finish your green beans, you can have a cookies).

There’s also tricking your kids into eating healthy, suggested in Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious, Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

The experts say that kids need time to develop eating habits. When introducing new foods, kids may not like it — but don’t give up.

The experts say you need to try giving food to a child as many 10 to 15 times before he or she can officially “not like it.”

Because let’s face it: New foods are scary.

Let’s talk about our successes and failures getting our kids to eat healthy. What’s worked for you?

Chrissy Kadleck March 02, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Leading by example is probably one of the most effective ways to encourage good food habits, I have learned. If I bring a bowl of cut up oranges into the family room for dessert, my 12-year-old daughter will dig in and forget about the leftover DQ cake in the freezer. At the same time, if I crack open a candy bar, she expects one too...regardless of how much sugar she may have consumed already that day. (She came by her sweet tooth honest, as they say.) Another smart strategy is the idea "if it's not in the house, you and your kids can't eat it." I'm still trying to perfect this one, but I get it. If given the choice between cookies or carrots sticks, most kids (and adults) would rather have the cookies. They're not counting calories. And having fruits and veggies available and at the ready -- cut up in the fridge or featured as appetizer while making dinner -- is super helpful. Getting kids involved with selecting a new fruit or vegetable for dinner or a snack makes them more likely to eat it. Recent case in point: Emma recently selected a recipe for salmon with a Japanese Ponzu sauce (citrus, ginger, and chipotle chiles, among other ingredients). I'm pretty confident if I had tried to sell her on this meal, it wouldn't have been fun. But since she had a sense of ownership in the meal, she gobbled it up and really liked it. Score!
Sandyt March 02, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Our kids are active in meal planning. Every week we sit down and do a menu for the week and each child gets to pick what they want. That helps us. I've also put veggies in different meals. We have some type of veggie with dinner every evening. Tonight was salad. We also have a rule at our house, you need to at least try something. Cut up fresh veggies and put them in bowls in the fridge is a good idea. The kids can just reach in there and grab something.
emily March 03, 2011 at 01:51 AM
I don't have children of my own, but I'm a dietitian and work with child nutrition programs in NYC. I think its wonderful that Sandy and Chrissy involve their children in meal planning and have fresh fruits and veggies readily available for snacking. Healthy eating starts in the home! Some tips I give to parents: cook & eat together as a family, have your children pick out the produce while food shopping, have fresh cut fruits and veggies in the front of the refrigerator, take weekend family trips to the farmers market & become familiar with the foods that grow in your community, have fresh fruits and veggies at EVERY meal :) (On a side note -- try to avoid rewarding children with food (i.e. cookies, candy, cakes, etc) for eating fruits and vegetables. Children should learn that the fruit or vegetable is a reward in itself; they're full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals you won't find in processed foods. )
Karen Morris March 03, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Its funny that you say that, let me explain. My oldest daughter (26) has a son (6) and when he was around 18 months of age, she still had him eating baby food, and I mean still out of the jar, nothing from the table, just straight from the jar. He also had a severe case of diarrhea which in turn caused a bad rash. When i found out what she was feeding him I said no wonder he has diarrhea and a rash almost all of the time. Feed him what you are eating, but his size of course and ground up if need be to get him used to the textures. Once she did that the rashes cleared and he stopped having the diarrhea. On another note, I have always fed by children the way that i eat. and to this day I am very proud to say that my children love fruits and vegetables, in fact my youngest asked me if we were planting carrots this year. Of course we are, I love when he goes out each morning to harvest himself a fresh carrot! Hugs Karen
Karen Morris March 03, 2011 at 04:03 PM
I agree with having the kids being active in the meal planning, they enjoy knowing that they helped along the way, gives them the feeling like they decided what was for dinner and not just us mom's telling them you must eat what I serve you LOL.

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