I just came across a pretty good article by ACE (American Council on Exercise) and thought I would share the highlights with you. This is from their Jan/Feb 2010 Fitness Matters Magazine.
In summary, here are the 10 tips published by Dr. Natalie Muth to help you encourage your kids to eat better:
1. Model Healthy Eating: Eat healthy foods yourself! Be enthusiastic about it!
2. Eat Together: Family meals are generally more nutritious and provide an opportunity to talk about food and model healthy behaviors.
3. Increase Exposure to Healthy Foods: Continue to reintroduce foods that your children have previously shunned. Children learn to eat (and enjoy) what they are exposed to most often.
4. Let Them Choose the Portion Size: This gives children a sense of empowerment, and they often choose appropriate portion sizes. As parents, it is common to dish too much food onto your child's plate and encourage them to finish their plate. Instead, let your child become intuned to their internal hunger cues.
5. Share the Control: As mentioned above, do not make your child clean their plate. Additionally, do not offer them a dessert reward if they finish a particular item, as this can lead the child to dislike that item even more.
6. Refuse to be a 'Short Order' Cook: Instead of feeling the need to cater to what each child wants for dinner, make sure there is at least one healthy food the child likes at each meal time. If they do not want to eat it, excuse them from the table and let them know that you will save their dinner for them if they become hungry later. This also helps children become more accustomed to eating previously rejected foods.
7. Limit Television Time: TV watching is linked to poor nutrition, mostly because of the numerous commercials for unhealthy products (such as sugary breakfast cereals, soft drinks, candy, salty snack products, and highly processed foods).
8. Exploit Similarities: Once a food is accepted, find other foods of similar color, flavor, or texure to introduce your child to. (ex: pumpkin pie --> mashed sweet potatos --> mashed carrots)
9. Make Eating Healthy Fun: Teach your child about plants by planting a small garden. Allow your child to pick out one new fruit and veggie at the farmers market to try at home.
10. Skip the Food Fights: The more a parent pressures their kid to eat a certain item, the less likely the child will be to develop a taste for it. Kids resist pursuasion. Instead, try your hardest not to put up a fight because that will make this food item a bigger deal than it needs to be. Just follow the tips above and reintroduce that food again at a later time.
I hope you find these helpful, I thought it was a pretty great article and wanted to summarize it for you!
Have a HEALTHY day!
~ Fit Britt
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