Research shows eating patterns are learned early, and develop into adolescence.
Children use their parents as foodie 'role models' first and foremost. So, what kind of a healthy eating example are you making? Authors of a new study say that is one of the best things you can do to improve your child's eating habits.
Increase the variety of healthy food.
Beets are super healthy but it took ages before I found them to be acceptable to eat when they were dried and shredded into salads. That shouldn’t be where you start with kids but try serving veggies in a variety of ways but start with raw. Give them a choice too. “You can either eat the peas or broccoli.”
Introduce 'new' vegetables and fruit
‘Yucky' can be a normal reaction when introduced to a new food. Don’t take it personally. Try encouraging your child to use better descriptive words. This causes them to actually take a moment and think about the food. You should also introduce the new food with an old favorite. Then ask your child to taste and compare the food. Offering a dip to go along with any fresh fruit or vegetable can really help as well.
Regular mealtimes and family dinners are an excellent way to bring a friendly conversation about the importance of good nutrition. Children who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in the healthy weight range, and to have healthier dietary and eating patterns. In adolescence, having parents present at evening meals is associated with higher intake of fruit, vegetables and dairy foods.
Sometimes the things we think are healthy aren’t and sometimes all we need is a guide to proper portion sizes. Some tweaks to our diets could mean all the difference. Your child’s doctor can recommend a nutritionist and there are often free classes given at various health events.