Growing Healthy Habits: More Food Shopping & Cooking
The more children are exposed to foods, especially new foods, the more likely they will be to eat them. Seeing, feeling, and smelling new foods will lead to tasting.
Food shopping: Pick out favorite healthy foods or new foods to try. Offer choices among healthy foods (Example: peppers or tomatoes?). Taking the time to shop for wholesome groceries will help everyone at home eat better.
Cooking: Choose age-appropriate tasks to have your child help you prepare meals and snacks. Children as young as 2 years old can learn and help in the kitchen. Visit TheKidsCookMonday.org for more information.
Eating: Taste new foods! You don’t have to eat it all.
- Cook one meal for the household—no special “kids” meals
- Keep the atmosphere light and pleasant
- No bribing children to eat certain foods
- Do not ask/beg "please it it for mommy!"
- Parents decide:1.) WHAT to offer to eat
2.) WHEN the foods will be offered
- Child decides: if he/she wants to eat, and how much to eat
- Start with very small portions of new foods: 1 Tablespoon is plenty. Large portions are a turn-off.
- Try new foods every day—make it a family rule
- Offer choices. Allow child to choose which foods to eat from what everyone else is eating.
- Plan for three meals and up to three snacks each day. No eating between those times. When children snack too often, they will not eat their meal. Also, snack foods tend to be lower in nutrition than meal foods.
- Have the child eat while sitting at the table. Bad habits catch on quickly. It is important to have the child sit at the table to distinguish between meal/snack time and play time.
Limit Simple Carbohydrates: white bread, sugar, sweet drinks, juice. These foods are very low in nutrition and high in calories. Instead, emphasize healthier alternatives such as whole grain bread and whole fruit which is naturally sweet and has more fiber and nutrients.
Limit Highly Processed Foods: fruit snacks, muffins, crackers, cookies, sugary breakfast cereals, pastries, cakes. These foods are also low in nutrition and high in calories. They often have many additives such as preservatives, artificial flavors and colors which may not be healthy choices. Instead, look for whole foods.
Avoid artificial sweeteners & food dyes which may cause adverse reactions in some children.
Marina Bedrossian is a Northport, NY dietitian nutritionist who helps people with holistic nutrition solutions and food sensitivities. Visit this page to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group “Ingredients For Healthy Families” more information here.
Does your child or family need nutrition support? Book a 15 minute consult to see how we can help!