Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting kids to eat healthy meals

It's a challenge; and understandable enough: if it's hard getting adults to eat healthy, how do we go about this business on kids?

I check what I am doing or not or have done against professional advice that I read.  MedicineNet nutrition experts suggest ways for parents to guide their children to eat a sound diet.

Avoid power struggle
"Do it because I'm the parent" or worse, "Eat or else..." Have you said something like that to your kids during a meal? Once I told my son, "no eat, no play." I realize it could be a form of slight power struggle. He ate but couldn't have understood why he had to eat in order to play. Author of The Parent's Toolshop Jody Johnston Pawel explains that this rationale does not work for long.

I had no idea children have to be exposed to a new food 10 to 15 times before they accept it. If they play with a berry on their plate, parents are advised not to give up but keep encouraging them to eat. Suggested exposure is 1 or 2 new foods a week.

Don't label
We may refer to children who are difficult to feed as "limited eater" rather than "picky." Experts claim that kids under 5 are normally selective eaters.

Build on the positive
A child's growth spurt is an opportunity to introduce new foods, but don't let your child eat all he wants just because things have become easier on the dining table.

 Let kids participate
"Get a step stool and ask your kids to lend a hand with easy tasks in the kitchen," says Sal Severe, author of How to Behave So Your Children Will Too.  He gives the logic here: if children participate in helping to make the meal, they are more likely to want to try it.

Don't bribe
Do you use sweets to get your child to eat what you want him to? I sometimes do. But experts advise parents to avoid it because it can send a message that eating veggies should involve a reward.

"The real reward of sound nutrition is a healthy body, not a chocolate cupcake."

Beware of over-snacking
If you remember your mom or dad giving you less to eat between meals, they were right. The problem is not the child does not like new food, but he is actually already full from snacks. Children can consume a lot of calories from milk and juice or chips and sodas.

"Good snacks are those that supplement meals, not sabotage them."

Role modeling on the dining table
"Do as I say, not as I do" is not just old, it's wrong.  You can't expect your kids to have salad while you are having french fries.

Defuse mealtimes
Don't discuss your child's eating habits during meals. Tense talk loses people their appetite. Parents can stress the importance of good eating through stories around bedtime.

Give it time
Children are known to grow out of limited eating as they grow older. One day you may be surprised to see them eat healthy food on their own; without being told.

I didn't like vegetables for as long as I can remember when I was a kid. But at age 19 that  was no longer the case. I finally learned the value of healthy eating.


  1. i agree dapat talagang lagi expose ang mga bata sa mga ibang pagkain lalo na sa gulay.
    para masanay sila dito.,

  2. yes, to let the kids healthy food, the adults should take the first step by setting a good example, if the adults don't do what they preach how can the children follow?

  3. if i may add - introduce veggies little by little, a spoonful at first then add a little more on their next feeding/meal :)

  4. Great tips! I don't have kids yet but I'm pretty sure getting them to eat healthy will be a problem when they reach the toddler years. Hahaha!

  5. I am lucky to have kids who loves to eat vegetables and don't hesitate to try on new foods. They say not to feed your kids and let them it by themselves .well ,my 3 1/2 years old son still drinks milk in the bottle and still spoon feeding him ,as mother that is the only way for me to make sure that he eats right aside from the tips that you mentioned above. I have a topic like this too. Nice post .thanks.

  6. My 3 years old daughter is a picky eater. Teaching kids to eat healthy food is indeed a challenging job for moms.

  7. Very helpful tips sis...on the dot! Over-snacking could be our problem sometimes still we eat late, lol.
    I'm quite the proud mom that my kids love food...any! :D They are even always curious about new food introduced to them.

  8. This is really a helpful post.
    My second child seems to have no taste buds except for fried chicken.
    But he eats vegies like kangkong, okra but that about it. i want him to try other
    dishes but to no avail.

  9. These are good reminders and I hope new parents are reading this for they have a lot to learn.

    Thank you for sharing!

  10. i suggest the "walk the talk" as many parents ask their kids to eat but they themselves don't...and i also watched on a tv show to be creative such as put those veggies on shakes or smoothies...

  11. "walk the talk" is addressed within 'Role-modelling on the dining table.' They come in different terms. That's what seems to be happening when studies on the same concept multiply, as the case usually is.

  12. this is a great advise to all mothers, well I hope they know and learn about these... also good, especially when dining out with kids..

  13. I don't have kids yet so I haven't really experienced anything related to feeding. But since I've worked before for a brand helping address the nutritional deficiency of hard-to-feed children, I definitely understand these tips, and I'd even say their good! :)

  14. I get them to eat by showing them that I eat it as well.



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