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Kids and food

kids and food
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We all want our kids to grow up healthy and offering them the right foods and a balanced diet helps that happen. But getting information on healthy foods can be a bit of a minefield. There are loads of sources out there presenting advice on what the best (and worst) foods are but unfortunately many of them seem to contradict each other. So how do you make sure your child has a healthy diet and how do you cope with picky eaters?

Keep the cupboards free of junk

Children are much more likely to accept you saying no to something if it’s not available anyway. Don’t bulk buy things like biscuits and crisps (or if you do, keep your own stash safely hidden!) and the temptation won’t be there to give in and allow children to have them often. Obviously an unhealthy snack is fine now and again but by keeping them out of sight the kids can’t just help themselves whenever they fancy it.

Allow your children a say

If a child has chosen her own meal or snack then the chances are she’ll eat it. Rather than expecting kids to eat what’s put in front of them all the time, offer choices. This doesn’t mean you have to be at your children’s beck and call when it comes to what they eat, just offer them a couple of options and ask which they’d prefer.

Let them help prepare meals

Allowing your children to help you prepare their food not only gives them skills they’ll need as they grow up, it also injects some enthusiasm into mealtimes and encourages them to eat the food they’ve prepared. Of course, you shouldn’t let young children use the cooker or prepare raw meats but getting them to help with little tasks is all that is needed.

Don’t offer rewards

Desserts are great but it can be tempting to use them as a reward for polishing off the main meal. By doing so you’re basically telling children that they need to eat the rubbish bit before they can get to the good stuff. Instead you should try to put the same value to all food types.

kids and food

 

Don’t make them clear their plate

Yes, you may want them to eat a little bit more in order to stay full for longer but even young children are able to manage their own appetite – think of how babies will come off the breast or refuse more milk from the bottle when they’re done. Trust them to know when they’re full and you’ll reduce the risk of them becoming overweight in the future.

Kids menus

Restaurants often make the mistake of presuming all kids will want to eat is fish fingers, chicken nuggets or pizza, all served with a helping of chips. If you’re eating out and the menu leaves you feeling uninspired, try ordering a starter or side dish for your child instead. It’s likely to be much healthier and your child may well prefer it too.

Be a role model

If your kids see you eating healthily then they’ll view it as the norm without questioning it. Wherever possible, try to eat the same meals at the same time as your children. Family dinners are a great chance to catch up on everyone’s day and your kids will pick up your own healthy eating habits.

 

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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