Helping kids to eat healthfully can be challenging for parents, but is necessary for your child’s nutrition and wellbeing. What can parents to do? Start with a few simple steps to get your kiddo eating better in no time!
Start by being a great role model! Children learn from the environments around them, and if they regularly see mom and dad snacking on chips and soda, they will think these are normal food choices. However, if parents make smart choices, children are more likely to make smart choices.
Get your kids involved! Mealtime can be fun time for families. At the grocery store, let your child select the fruit or veggie to have for a snack or dessert. Then, let him or her help prepare it in the kitchen. Kids love to play with their food, so let them! Get creative!
Offer a variety of foods, but include some favorites. Kids often go through food jags – when they only want to eat a particular food. This is normal and usually short-lived. Continue to offer different foods at each meal, and offer the favorite food at snack time. Eventually, kids will start to eat other foods. But remember, kids have dislikes, just like adults do. Don’t force foods; let kids express their tastes and differences!
Don’t use food as a reward or punishment! Bargaining over food negates the body’s natural instincts for when and how much to eat. This may set up bad habits related to emotional eating and lead to later problems with weight and body image. Simply put uneaten food in the refrigerator and say, “Your lunch is in the refrigerator for when you are hungry later.”
Finally, as the parent it is your responsibility to offer healthy foods to your child. Your child chooses which of these foods and how much to eat. Keep in mind that you select the foods that line your pantry and refrigerator. If you don’t want to your child eating certain foods, don’t buy or offer them. Having healthy fruits, such as pears, readily available will make offering healthy choices a breeze.
For a great way to get your kids excited about healthy eating, start with nutrient-dense, sweet pears. Visit the Pear Nutrition for Kids site to get your kids eating healthfully today! Also, send us an email with your mailing address, and we’ll send you one of our new recipe booklets for kids, called “Pearfect Recipes for Kids in the Kitchen!”