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New tips for encouraging kids to eat well

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Raising healthy eaters

Don’t give up when your little one zips her lips to the peas. You can turn your picky kids into good eaters; the key is to get them involved. Follow these tips, give it some time, and you will see that you can raise kids who appreciate good, healthy food.

Mom and boy at farmer's market

1Grow your own food or join a CSA

Find a spot in your yard and grow your own food. If that's not an option, join a CSA and get a regular delivery of fresh-from-the-farm produce.

Mrs. Q, the teacher who ate school lunch every day for a year and documented it on her blog, Fed Up With Lunch, learned through her journey that, in her words, "Food is everything":

"I think kids eat food they grow themselves or see grown because something 'clicks' for them when they see a real plant growing in dirt. We have become so disconnected from seeds and the soil that when someone puts broccoli on kids' plates, they recoil because they don't see it in context. If they see more of the plant growing cycle, they have something at stake and are engaged in the process. Eating the broccoli is more than expected: It's desired, as they want to try the end product."

Learn more about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) >>

2Give them $10

We got this great idea from Dinner – A Love Story: Give your kids $10, or a budget that works for you, and let them buy anything they want from the farmers market or produce section. You're giving them total power to select their food, which is a big deal to a kid. See if they go for the fruits and veggies they know they like, or maybe they'll branch out and try an exotic tropical fruit for the first time. Either way, they're more likely to eat what they choose.

3Kids in the kitchen

Let your kids be a part of meal preparation, even if they're not quite old enough to do any actual cooking. Bring a safe stool up to the counter and give them a job. It might be chopping vegetables, or maybe just pushing the button on the blender to make a smoothie. Get more fun ideas about cooking with kids from ChopChop, an online cooking magazine for families.

Want to teach your kids to cook, but not sure where to start? Find out here >>

4Be patient

Don't get discouraged if your kids aren't digging in to every new food you introduce. "Kids, especially babies, need time to grow accustomed to new flavors," says Catherine McCord of the popular website Weelicious. "So don't give up if your first few attempts offering something new are unsuccessful. Arm twisting can push kids away from foods they might otherwise enjoy if only given the space to discover it for themselves."

Have a picky eater? Check out these tips and tricks >>

More healthy snack ideas

Snack attack & lunchbox ideas
Finger food snacks for kids
Favorite finger foods

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