Helping kids eat healthy: Eight ideas

Last updated 12:30 05/02/2013

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Tips for helping kids eat healthy

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The best way to get our kids to eat healthy is by setting the example with our own eating habits. If we provide healthy snacks and meals in the home and sit and eat these with our children they will learn healthy habits. We need to teach them why eating a balanced diet is important to keep us from getting sick, give us energy, and help us learn. Children are more motivated if they understand the reason why they should make healthy choices and if they have control over some of those choices.

Each child has different taste preferences, and their preferences may be different from their parents, but the important thing is to find what healthy foods they enjoy and include them in meals, while also encouraging them to try new things from time to time. For example, if a child doesn't like fresh fruit, try dried fruit, fruit bars, or smoothies with blended fresh fruit.

Some ideas that have worked for our family:

1. Keep a fruit bowl with fresh fruit in a prominent place.

2. Have a snack shelf or lunch box shelf in the pantry with various healthy choices such as popcorn, dried fruit, and nuts.

3. Include blended veges in sauces and recipes such as carrots, onion and garlic in pasta sauce.

4. Grow a small vegetable garden with veges your family likes, ours has mainly potatoes, carrots and onions in it.

5. Don't ban foods, but have rules or limits, such as one drink of fruit juice a day, one dessert a day, takeaways once a week.

6. Take healthy snacks on car trips, rather than relying on stopping on the way.

7. Take the children to the grocery shop and let them choose the healthy snacks within your budget boundaries.

8. Include healthy ingredients in baking, such as fruit muffins and oats or bran in biscuits.

Every family is different so the key is to find things that work for your lifestyle, there are lots of options, but parents need to be responsible for setting the example and providing the correct environment. 

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