Monday, June 18, 2007

Winning the Food War!

Many young children are timid about trying new foods.

But, seriously, kids can’t live on macaroni and cheese alone! And while kids usually are better about trying new cuisine as they grow older, here are twelve tips you can use tonight.

1. Only offer one new food at a time, and in small amounts. Too much at one time can be overwhelming.

2. In every meal, include at least one food you know your child will like.

3. Let your child choose a new food to try. Or try an exchange—you choose one for him and he chooses one for you.

4. Don’t short-order cook. Making separate meals for you and your child is not only time consuming, but it also caters to a finicky eater.

5. Encourage your child to taste a small amount before making a decision. Some foods taste better than they look!

6. If your child is healthy and is growing adequately, don’t worry if he eats the same types of foods all the time. He’ll mostly likely outgrow it.

7. Don’t make mealtime a battleground. Remind your child that if he doesn’t eat what’s on the table, he’ll have to wait until the next snack or meal.

8. Snacking is okay, especially for small children. Since they have small stomachs, they need to eat more frequently to meet their high-energy needs. Yet, be careful of what snacks you choose. For toddlers, vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, low-fat crackers and cheese are good choices.

9. If your child doesn’t like a specific food the first time, don’t be afraid to try again. Children are often more accepting as they become more familiar with a new food.

10. Remember, children are natural observers and imitators. The old saying, “Do what I say and not what I do,” never works. If you have poor eating habits, then your kids will too. Come on, mom. Let me see you eat those vegetables!

11. Children need to know that all food can fit into a healthy diet. There are no “good” or “bad” foods. Every food can be enjoyed in moderation.

12. Finally, remember it’s easier to eat healthy if you shop healthy. Look for a wide variety of foods that are low in fat, sugar, and salt but high in vitamins and minerals. Resist the urge to shop when you’re hungry, and it will be easier to make good choices!

© Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

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