How to Get Kids to Eat Better: 7 Proven Tips for Picky Eaters

We all understand the importance of making our kids eat nutritious food. However, letting a four year old finish a plate with two  servings of fruits and one serving of vegetables is a lot easier said than done. And this challenge is mostly because of one common reason – they don’t like how healthy foods taste. So how do we get our kids to eat better?

The importance of good nutrition in kids cannot be overemphasized. And parents shouldn’t just give up and let their children devour loads and loads of unhealthy foods because they will only eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs. If you share the same dilemma, here are some pieces of advice you might need to get your kids to eat better. 

Introduce new foods slowly

One of the reasons why it’s difficult to feed children healthier food is that they have already  gotten used to the flavor of the food they have always been served. So, if you’re trying to get your little one to eat fruits and vegetables, be sure to slowly introduce them instead of forcing it. 

One surefire way to get them excited about trying something new to the palate is to level up the fun factor. Inject a little creativity and have fun experimenting with the shapes and colors. Be creative with the arrangements, too.

Offer choices

If there’s one thing young kids hate, it’s being told what to do. The early years are when they begin to establish independence and test their limits. And when they feel like they’re being controlled, chances are, they’ll end up doing otherwise. So even at the dining table, make sure your child gets to choose what to eat. This doesn’t mean choosing between chips and apple slices. Of course, the options should consist of healthy items. 

For example, you can let them choose between sweet potato and apple for snacks. 

Let them take control of their plates

Letting your little one make their own plate is another excellent way to exercise their independence and get them to eat better at the same time. Instead of filling their plates with food, let them do it. As long as well-balanced food components are served, you’re still making sure they’re getting the nutrients they need. 

Encourage smart snacking

It’s tempting to let a child devour a bag of chips when they’re agitated. But this isn’t the best way to help them develop healthy eating habits. Encourage your child to snack smarter by keeping snack sizes in small portions. Give them healthy snacks, too.

Avoid giving them snacks when it’s close to dinnertime or they will lose their appetite. 

Get them involved in meal prep and cooking

Children tend to be more interested in eating what they’ve created. So, why not get your little one involved in meal prep and cooking? Take them with you when you do grocery shopping and let them pick the fruits and vegetables they find interesting to eat. Then, encourage their participation in the meal preparation process. Let them perform simple tasks such as tossing the salad, stirring the mixture in the bowl, putting the toppings on a dish, and so on. 

Limit the junk

Parents have complete control of the food that comes into the house. Therefore, if you want to make sure your little one doesn’t get addicted to junk and other unhealthy foods, limit the junk food around the kitchen. The less junk food that is readily available, the higher the likelihood for your kids to eat more veggies and fruits. Stock up more of the healthy stuff in the fridge such as high-fiber foods, dairy products and whole grains. 

Be a role model

There’s no better way to get kids to eat better than by setting the right example of healthy eating. Be a role model and exhibit the right eating behaviors. Incorporate more vegetables and fruits during mealtime and cut back on the unhealthy ones, and your child is more likely to follow suit. 

Now that you have all these tips and tricks on how to get kids to eat better, it’s time to put them to good use. These will help you ensure your child gets all the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and happy.

For more helpful parenting tips or if you’re looking for the best childcare center for your child, please visit Children Central

 

4 Parenting Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

The role of being a parent comes coupled with great responsibility. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your kids grow to become healthy, successful adults. Parents play a vital role in their children’s behaviors and life choices.

Raising healthy kids may seem like a simple task, but given the unhealthy temptations we all face, it can be pretty challenging. While you strive hard to make the best decisions for your children, there will be pitfalls along the way.

So how do you ensure that your kids grow up to be healthy, safe, happy, and successful? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this, here are a few tips to guide you:

Live a Smoke-free Life

Smoking is not only bad for your health, but it can be more harmful to your family and kids. Even secondhand smoke is toxic and can cause major health problems for your kids. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should be smoke-free—this helps prevent premature birth, birth defects, or other related health problems.

Having a smoke-free life also ensures that your child is at lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear problems, asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis.

Children also learn by observation. So the kids of parents who smoke are far more likely to take up smoking themselves.

For parents who are smokers, it is crucial to quit now rather than risk the health of your kids as they grow older.

Protect your kids by making your vehicle and home smoke-free. It is one of the most effective ways in raising healthy kids.

Providing Healthy Meals

Good nutrition is critical for making sure that your kids are healthy and stay away from any diseases.

Struggling between work and family can be overwhelming. Oftentimes parents overlook the importance of good nutrition and home-cooked meals.

Healthy, wholesome eating will provide the nutrients needed for your kids to build strong bones, fight diseases, and boost energy.

Help your kids develop a healthy eating habit. Get them to eat more fruits and vegetables as often as possible.

It is normal for kids to be picky eaters, however, you can be creative in ways to get them to eat healthy and nutritious foods.

Add broccoli or green leafy vegetables to their salad, or make a sweet dessert from fruits. Another way to entice them to eat healthy foods is by serving in various forms, such as a shake, juice, or a smoothie.

Offer Emotional Support

Growing up can be tough, and children need emotional love and support from their loved ones, most especially from their parents. They need your guidance to respond to both their emotional and physical needs.

Parents should be able to openly communicate with their kids. Find out what bothers them, what is going on in their mind, if they are having problems, how are they making decisions, and how they overcome such struggles.

Communicate with your kids, listen to their needs, and make them understand how making positive choices will greatly affect their future. Avoid making any harsh or negative comments, especially about their body.

Work with them to set up goals to achieve a healthier way of life. Praise them when they eat more fruits and vegetables or become more active. More than anything, your support and love for your kids is what really matters to them.

Be a Role Model

Children follow by example, and if adults are not eating healthy or living an inactive life, chances are the kids will grow up to do the same.

For some families, this can seem pretty normal—living on a diet of sugar, fast food, or eating out and having a sedentary lifestyle.

Make sure that your family adopts a healthier lifestyle—make everyone commit to a healthy change and make healthy habits a priority in the household.

Your children may be hesitant at first, but keep in mind that your attitude and behaviors matter. Work healthy and nutritious foods into every meal, and  incorporate some physical activity into your family’s life.

Raising healthy kids is achievable with the proper love and support from everyone. Teach your kids the importance of nutrition and make them understand how they can stay healthy, happy, and safe.

Remember, that this habit will not happen overnight. It is an uphill battle and change will happen gradually. It starts at home and continues in school.

To ensure that your child will have the best preschool education that teaches nutrition as an important way to having a healthy life, contact Children Central.

 

Find out How You Can Help Others on World Food Day

Find out How You Can Help Others on World Food DayWorld Food Day is observed on the 16th of October each year. This day is celebrated to honor the date when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded in 1935. It is also recognized to raise awareness about hunger, as well as encourage the public to take action is to help eliminate world hunger.

The World Food Day is celebrated by organizing food drives and distributing free meals for the homeless and less fortunate. If you have the heart to participate in this holiday, here are some of the ways you can take a stand against hunger and make a difference.

Take a photo of your meal and share it on  social media

If you think taking photos of your sumptuous meals and uploading them on the social media is meaningless, then you have been thinking wrong. By sharing photos of your meals, you are also literally sharing your food. All you have to do is to download FoodShareFilter or Feedie. Both applications were designed to help fight global hunger. Every time photos of food are shared using the app, the restaurant donates a meal to an organization called the Lunchbox Fund that provides meals for orphaned children in South Africa.

Volunteer in your local community garden

Food scarcity and insecurity affect people living in poverty and those who have limited access to healthy and fresh food. Help make a difference by volunteering in your local urban garden. Address hunger by getting outside, by connecting with people, and by distributing fresh produce to people who need it most.

Participate in local community events

There are plenty of local events you can participate in if you want to help fight hunger in your community. Search World Food Day USA on Google to find some ways you can help. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities: packing meals for the homeless, walking for hunger, or helping out in a soup kitchen to name a few. No matter how big or small, your efforts will make a difference. However, you help out will be valuable for the nourishment of those who are in need. So serve your community by giving your time and efforts.

Help improve the quality of school lunches

World Food DayIn different parts of the United States and throughout the world, a school lunch or breakfast may be the only full meal a student eats in a day. The sad part is that these meals do not always contain important nutrients a child needs for growth and development. By improving the quality of food at schools, children can enjoy better health and improve their academic performance.

Treat yourself

Did you know that by treating yourself with your favorite food at your favorite restaurant, you are also making a difference in the world’s problem with hunger and food scarcity? So go ahead and invite a friend for a meaningful and sumptuous meal. As soon as the check arrives, donate the cost of your meal by joining the #HungerFree movement. This movement is organized to help fight hunger in South Sudan, Kenya, and many other parts of the globe.

Attend an event

If you are looking for other ways to participate in  World Food Day, you can visit foodday.org and enter your zip code to find an event near you. It doesn’t matter which event you choose, whether you dine or donate, the important thing is that you are helping spread awareness. You are also encouraging people to join the fight against hunger.

Food scarcity and hunger may seem to be overwhelming global problems. But if we all decide to take action, even in our little ways, and become advocates for health and food, we can all make a difference to make this world a better place.

Celebrate National Picnic Month by Going on a Picnic with the Family

family on a picnic

A picnic is a great way to spend time with family

Everybody celebrates Independence Day in July. But, what many people don’t know is that we also celebrate National Picnic Month in July, too! Going for a picnic is an excellent time to embrace nature and breathe in fresh air. It is also a great opportunity to bond with friends, family and loved ones. While a picnic is understood as a simple excursion with meals eaten outdoors, there are some interesting facts about the origin of picnic that not many of us are aware of.

  •  The word picnic was taken from the French word “pique nique” which refers to an outdoor meal. The first picnics took place in the Middle Ages when the members of the upper class society would “dine out” or eat their meals outdoors during a hunt.
  • The first recorded use of “picnic”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in a letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son in Berlin in 1748. The word picnic here was used in the sense of a social gathering.
  • In the early 1800’s, picnic was already being used to refer to a social meal eaten outdoors.

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How to Celebrate National Nutrition Month at Home and School

“Invest in Yourself – Buy Nutrition” was the theme for the first National Nutrition Month. It was created in 1973 by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA is known now as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It actually started as a week long to begin with, but has expanded to a full month to reach more people.

This month of awareness is meant to help everyone focus on the many benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, of which nutrition plays a key part.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month both at home and at school. Looking for the best way to help the information be effective and stick? Make it fun!

Here are a few ideas to help you get started.:

Create a theme for each week which focuses on a particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

For example:

Week One – MyPlate – what it is and how it can help you eat healthy food
Week Two – Why choose whole grains?
Week Three – How to read nutrition labels
Week Four – Get moving every day!

Supermarket scavenger hunt

Take a class field trip to the local supermarket (or parents, take your kids shopping with you) and make a game out of finding healthy food choices.

Using an “I spy” type of game, give the kids clues about the food you’re talking about.

For example, you could say, “I spy something orange, it grows in the ground and is a bunny’s favorite food”.
Or, “I see something that’s bright red, grows on a tree and is delicious in a pie.”
Another way to have fun learning about nutrition? Have the older kids come up with their own clues that they can then share with the younger ones!

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Healthy Eating, Your Kids and National Snack Food Month

February is National Snack Food Month. This is the perfect opportunity to show your kids how healthy snacks are the best snacks for their growing minds and bodies!

Let’s face it, kids aren’t always enthusiastic about healthy eating.

But both parents and educators know the more interested and involved a kid is with what they’re trying to do, the more enthusiastic and engaged they’ll be.

This makes for easy teaching and better retention – a win-win for kids and the ones teaching them!

And it is possible to get them interested in trying new foods – if you make “fun” the name of the game!

Here’s how:

national snack food month

They’re watching you

Like it or not, your kids are always watching what you do.

If they see Mom and Dad choose – and enjoy – healthy foods and beverages, they may be more open to trying something new.

Focus on the food’s benefits

Talk about the benefits of the food on your child’s plate, not the fact that it’s “healthy”. The idea that something is “healthy” is a distant concept for a child, especially young children. Tell them something like “the cheese will give you strong muscles” or “make you powerful”, or whatever phrase you think will appeal to your child.

If they have a favorite superhero or sports figure, try to find a way to tie their attributes (e.g. strength, speed, etc.) to the benefit of eating the food.

Eye appeal

Think color, crunch, and healthy fats.

Make the food as appealing to the eye as possible:

  • combine different colors
  • use different cuts (e.g. round disks vs thin strips)
  • try different flavors (mozzarella, cheddar)
  • cut and/or arrange into fun shapes

Make it a game

Take the kids grocery shopping. Ask them to help find vegetables and fruits in every color of the rainbow.

Once you’re home, have them help you prepare the foods for quick snacking options throughout the week. Bagging their own portions helps them feel more involved.

Let them decide

To get kids more excited about eating healthy foods give them several healthy choices for at least one of their meals.

For example, if it’s lunch time, let them choose among options such as pitas, wraps or English muffins made with whole grains. Offer lean ham, turkey or chicken and low fat cheese slices for the filling.

Let them help

Research has shown that kids who spend time in the kitchen will choose a wider variety of foods and tend towards decisions which are healthier.

Give your kids age appropriate tasks in the kitchen to expose them to all of the aspects of their food preparation. When possible, let them put together their own meals as they’re much more likely to eat their own creations!

Keep trying

Research has shown that it takes as many as 15 tries before a kid will try a new food. So if they turn their nose up at a new food, keep introducing it and eventually they will give it a try. Even if they don’t like it the first time they try it, over time their taste buds develop and change. They may grow to like it.

Snack ideas

There are thousands of great, healthy snack ideas for kids. Here are just a few:

  • “Ants on a log” (celery filled with peanut butter and raisins)
  • Fresh or canned fruit (canned in 100% juice) served with low fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese sticks or cubes
  • Whole grain crackers or rice cakes topped with peanut butter or thin cheese slices
  • Popcorn (air-popped)
  • Quesadillas (whole wheat tortilla stuffed with low-fat melted cheese)
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Whole wheat pita bread with hummus
  • Fresh fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Homemade trail mix (portioned)

Set the rules

Give them beverage choices such as water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice (portioned) to keep them hydrated. Require they ask before they grab a snack.

To promote mindful eating, insist that snacks be eaten at the table or in the kitchen, not in front of the TV or computer.

Getting kids interested in eating healthy foods isn’t always easy, but it is always worth the effort!

August is National Eye Exam Month: 5 Ways Eye Health Affects Your Child’s Performance in School

August is National Eye Exam Month, it is also the month most kids get ready to go back to school. With both things in mind, getting a comprehensive eye exam should be on your back-to-school checklist.

As a child’s body grows, their eyes go through changes. Sometimes, these changes are gradual. So gradual, that the child gets used to the change without noticing it. Your child may not have any problems with blurry vision or headaches. An annual back to school eye exam will ensure your child’s health, development and school performance. In the spirit of National Eye Exam Month. Here is how eye health affects your child.

School Performance

pediatric vision test

Take your child for an eye exam before school starts

The most obvious reason to have an annual exam is to ensure your child can do well in school. If your child cannot see at a distance, they will miss out on critical information presented on a board or screen. For kids who cannot see things close up, reading and written assignments become a challenge.

You may only detect a problem when your child’s grades start to slip. Having an annual exam will detect eye issues before school even starts. It should become a normal part of your back-to-school routine.

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