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Knowing this helps, but what do we do from here? Here are a few tips to make meal time easier and to keep you and your kids both happy and healthy at the dinner table.
Kids love to help out, so let them join you while you cook. This allows them to feel like they have a part in preparing what they eat, which gets them interested in trying their creations. Find things that are easy and manageable for them to do. Let them spread the peanut butter, add the cheese or wash the fruits and veggies. And don't forget these tips for cooking with kids!
Young children are wage a constant battle for independence. Try giving them a few healthy choices and let them make the final decision. For example, "Do you want to add some strawberries or blueberries to your cereal today?" By doing this, your children feel like they're calling the shots and don't feel forced to eat your "yucky" healthy foods. Be sure to offer these 10 healthy foods for kids.
Using vegetable purees to hide nutritionally rich foods in your child's favorite meals not only provides them with the good stuff they need, but also gets them used to new tastes and flavors that they might otherwise be scared to try. Try blending a can of pinto beans or some squash into your child's favorite spaghetti sauce; they'll develop a more sophisticated palate without even realizing it. For more ideas like this, check out Jessica Seinfeld's recipe book called Deceptively Delicious.
If you're dealing with a picky eater, it's best not to bombard them with a plate of completely new foods. Try pairing a new food with one of their old faves. They may be more willing to dive into those veggies if they're paired with their good old chicken nuggets.
Our children are always watching what we do and striving to be more like us. Don't expect your kids to eat a plate of cauliflower while you're standing in the kitchen eating a bag of chips. Make healthy choices for yourself and your kids will catch on. Try this mom's 5 fun ways to get kids to eat healthy foods.