Go beyond steamed cauliflower and dinner salads to get your child to eat her vegetables. Try turkey taco salads with salsa instead of dressing on Taco Tuesdays. Or make pita pizzas with fresh veggie toppings for a movie night instead of ordering a pizza delivery.
Getting everyone around the table is not always easy, but while you have the family together, have some fun! Ask your kids to make special table decorations for the night. Break out the sprinkles and birthday cake candles for a fruit and yogurt parfait. Keep the time together more about fun and less about clean plate pressure.
If macaroni and cheese is a crowd pleaser, then try adding vegetables like spinach, broccoli or peas to it. Look for places where you can make substitutions without much notice, like switching from white to wheat bread or to brown rice or whole grain pasta.
Make your kids responsible for coming up with healthy meal ideas for the family. Have them help prepare and share their dishes, so they can be proud of the choices made for each culinary creation. Even the most discriminating little eaters are likely to ask for seconds of their own creative masterpiece.
Ditch the idea of offering a less-than-healthy reward for eating the required quantities of healthier food. Instead, offer dessert as part of a meal, sliding it right next to the sweet potatoes. Better to offer the oatmeal cookie, fresh fruit or pudding cup up front, rather than encourage your kid to eat after he or she is already full, ignoring the hunger cues provided by the body.
Show your little guy or girl that making healthy choices is just part of life. Don't make eating fruits and vegetables an unusual occurrence that is emphasized once or twice a week. Offer healthy choices consistently -- making them the rule, rather than the exception.
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