Trying to get your kids to eat healthy is usually very trying for even the most patient mom. Ask me I know. Even when you spend hours trying to make it look pretty and edible by hiding all the green stuff away, they still pull up their little noses in disgust. In fact trying to get my child to eat anything that isn't white is a very trying experience.
Although we would like to hope that Orange Juice and Nic Naks make a good wholesome meal, unfortunately this is not the case. It is quite important that growing children get good nutrition as they grow. Their diets can also make a huge difference to how they feel and their ability to learn.
Here are some tips that may or may not help you in your endeavor to get your kids to eat healthy.
Serve them small portions as they only have small tummies. If you serve them an entire plate of meat, rice and vegies, they will probably give up before they even start. Try cut up some nutritional food into bite size portions for them, like cubes of cheese, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, a few peas and some tiny triangles of bread or toast. At least this way they will be likely to eat at least half of it.
Become an artist, as children eat something because it looks good. Never underestimate the power of a cookie cutter when it comes to making sandwiches. Even something as simple as making a smiley face out of the food on the plate helps.
If they hate the taste of something, like broccoli, don't sweat it trying to force them to eat it. You will just end up giving yourself grey hair and unnecessary stress. There are countless alternatives to any food, and there is bound to be one your little one will like.
Don't worry if they want tomatoe sauce with everything. At least it is a good form of lycopene and provided it's a good brand that is low in salt and sugar, it is fine if it helps them eat that piece of meat. If they have a sweet tooth, try making a milkshake out of banannas and fruit and a little ice cream. Children also love ice lollies, so make these out of pureed fruit.
Never force your child to finish everything on his or her plate. You are merely encouraging them to overeat by ignoring those vital 'I'm full' signals from their brains.
Tell your children that the deal is that they have to taste a food at least once before saying they don't like it. Sometimes they surprise themselves.
Take them shopping with you, and let them choose a dinner. They will feel more in control if they are involved in the decision making process.
Let them experiment in the kitchen. Most kids will eat anything that they themselves have made. Encourage the use of healthy ingredients and of course supervision. There are tons of kid friendly recipes on Google.
It's okay to lie through your teeth in some instances. For instance if they ask if the soup has onions in it you are allowed to say no if it means that they will eat it.
Never offer more than two or three choices, or you will be asking for trouble. If they don't finish their food, simply put it away for later, then if they complain that they are hungry in an hour, you can whip it out again. If they are truly hungry they will eat it. Don't then go and substitute it with a chocolate biscuit.
The trick is being clever, resourceful, as well as tough. Stick to your decisions, after all it is their health you are looking after.