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All-Inclusive Eating: Making Sure Your Kiddies Get A Balanced Diet

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By mia bolaris-forget

We all know that good habits are best fostered when we’re young, but that may be “the” most difficult time to enforce them. Let’s face it, while children are like sponges, they still have their own personalities and their own preferences, and most of the time the things they like aren’t the best or healthiest for them. This is especially true when it comes to food. After all, most “good-for-you” foods are those that require an acquired taste for them.

Start by envisioning your child’s plate, say experts, as a peace sign and filling the larger areas with fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains and the smaller areas with a lean protein. Plus, making sure to add lots of kid-friendly bright colours on your child’s plate can make healthy foods more visually appealing while also offering a balanced diet.

Add to the menu slowly, keeping in mind that kids, like some adults may be reluctant to embrace new items and/or new tastes. Pair fruits and veggies with familiar favourites. For example, try honey mustard in place of ketchup with popular pleasures such as potatoes, and slowly “graduate” to regular mustard, relish, etc.

Another great way to get kids excited about “experimenting” (with food) is by getting them involved in the (grocery) shopping and in the kitchen. Give them a say in what you buy and what you prepare, encouraging them to develop and eagerness to experience “their own” creation…with your supervision, direction, and assistance, of course.

You’ll also want to make sure that YOU are setting the best example and enjoying YOUR share of healthy, “good-for-you” foods and that you truly “do” enjoy them. Remember, kids look up to you and often seek to emulate what you do.

On the other hand, don’t obsess should you or your child falls off track. Healthy eating doesn’t mean perfect eating, at least not all the time. And, there will be things your child may never learn to appreciate or like. Instead, keep junk food out of reach by keeping it out of the house, replacing it with healthy snacks and doing the best you can, as often as you can and in as much as you have control over. Then, simply sit down and “enjoy” your meal, even if it’s not all “ideal”.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > All-Inclusive Eating: Making Sure Your Kiddies Get A Balanced Diet

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