Seven Stellar Ways To Sneak Nutrition Into Picky Eaters

Little asian girl with expression of disgust against broccoliIf I had a dollar for every parent who emailed me on City Kids Nutrition (my Facebook page) that their child was a great eater as an infant and became picky as a toddler, I could retire in Bali. A child’s independence emerges during the toddler years, and food preference is no exception.

Following these age-appropriate tips will prevent stressful food fights and cultivate a peaceful, functional mealtime environment. Here are SEVEN stellar ways to win the food war!

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8 Tips For Serving Healthier Party Treats

Watermelon-and-Tomato-Salad-150x150Kids go to a lot of parties and most of the time the most common treats that are served are not as healthy as they should be. Are you planning a party for your child? Here are some great tips we found on www.eatright.org that will help you serve some healthier snacks.

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Tricks to Eating Veggies

Little asian girl with expression of disgust against broccoliGreen beans, peas, spinach, and broccoli.  Kids love to hate them.  Veggies, however, are an essential part of a healthy diet.  Should you sneak veggies into your kids’ meals to give them the nutrition they need without the whining that you most certainly do not need?  The answer depends on how you and your kids relate.  Read on for more information.

Two Options

If you have an open relationship with your kids and your kids are good at honoring your requests and following your directions, then sneaking veggies into your kids’ meals is not the right way to go.  The better approach is to address this topic as you have addressed all other topics: openly and trusting your kids to honor your requests and follow your directions.  You may say, for example, “You guys want pizza for dinner, and I’ve decided that sounds pretty good.  To make sure that you still have a balanced, nutritious meal tonight, you will need to choose at least three toppings (one meat and two vegetables).  What would you like on the pizza tonight?”

If your relationship with your kids is more stereotypical (i.e., your kids want what they want, regardless of your requests and directions, such that you and your kids occasionally have a battle of wills), then sneaking veggies into your kids’ meals may be the right way to go.  As your kids mature, you may then disclose what they have been eating all along, but likely not until that maturation has occurred.  Minor trust issues may develop in this situation, but your kids will be healthy as they mildly distrust you.  If you don’t want to risk this down side, your alternative is to let them avoid the veggies that they hate and provide them dietary supplements (i.e., vitamin and mineral tablets) to offset the deficiencies in their diets.

Food Choices

The food choices that the kids make when they get older can be positively or negatively affected either way.  If you ensure that your kids eat nutritious meals, you may orient your kids to value nutrition as adults or you may cause your kids to grow weary of healthy foods and instead inadvertently stimulate a desire to be free to eat whatever tastes good (regardless of how healthy it may be).  Conversely, if you do not ensure that your kids eat nutritious meals, your kids will be less likely to value healthy foods when they are adults . . . but they may surprise you (typically once they becomes parents themselves) by focusing on healthy food consumption.  How kids grow to make food choices of their own seems to be based in part on how familiar they are with nutrition, how comfortable they are with eating healthy food and junk food, and how forced they did or did not feel to eat certain foods when they were growing up.

In sum, when choosing whether to sneak veggies into your kids’ meals, you need to consider the way that you and your kids relate to each other and the possible outcomes (both short- and long-term) of the choice that you make.  Then, you can make the choice that is right for you and your family.

Written by: Candi Wingate, President at “Nannies4hire.com”

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About The Author: Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family.

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9 Healthy, Easy After-Game Snacks

Group Of Children Playing In ParkBecause childhood obesity is now considered an epidemic, serving healthy foods to your child after the game will reward him or her for a job well done (even if they didn’t win). You can help him or her learn to maintain an appropriate weight, by modeling wise food choices.

Children are naturally thirsty after workouts. But, drinks with caffeine don’t hydrate a body that’s been sweating profusely. High-sugar foods or drinks don’t give the body what it needs after exercise. Water or natural juice will replenish the lost water from perspiring.

Kids devour carbohydrate-rich foods. Supplying the body with protein after strenuous workouts will help repair muscles at the cellular level.

The following is a list of favorites from moms–from soccer fields to cheerleader workouts. These foods are not only healthy, cost little, but are easy to serve just as they are on the store shelf. No prep mess and no “junk food.” Wise parents prefer these store-bought, healthful (and not so expensive) choices to share with their child’s teammates after the game:

  1. Protein rich and low in fat: String cheese
  2. Sweet, but natural: Fruit cups
  3. An easy, old-fashioned favorite: Small boxes of raisins
  4. Non-sugary drinks: 100% real juice in boxes
  5. Chewy and flavorful: Fruit leathers
  6. For salt replenishment from sweating: Pretzels
  7. Already conveniently wrapped by nature: Bananas
  8. Inexpensively packed in five-pound bags: Clementine oranges
  9. Everyone’s delight: protein granola bars

A final note to the wise. Don’t think you’re rewarding children for hard work on the field by giving them junk food. Junk food is not “good,” so it can’t be considered positive reinforcement. The healthy choice is easy, when it’s ready to distribute to hungry hands right out of the grocery bag.

Written by: Ruby Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Fun Ways to Get Young Children to Eat Healthier

Thanksgiving joyWe love to encourage drinking our juices for health reasons, but it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet of food with those juices!  Unfortunately when you have kids they tend to be a little more on the picky side so it’s important to find innovative ways to coax them into eating food, and we have a guest blogger this week to help with those suggestions.

Healthy Eating For Kids

Combine a crazy family schedule with the amount of processed and junk food on the market, and one can see why it is difficult to maintain a healthy diet in the average household.  But, children learn from the meals you offer, the way you serve food, the way you shop, and the examples you set. Early habits can last a lifetime, so it’s never too early to make a change. Try these 4 ways to get young children to eat healthier.

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