If you have ever sat a plate of steamed vegetables in front of a child then you know the true definition of the word Tantrum. Whether it results in high-pitched squeals or food thrown against the wall, the outcome is always the same; A child with no interest in eating their vegetables.
While this level of resistance can often lead many parents to concede and serve their children unhealthy food, it’s important for children’ mental and physical growth to balance their food intake. With this mind, below are some great tips to help you introduce healthy food items into your onto your child’s plate.
Why the Rush?
Have you ever gone from performing no daily exercise to full sets of jumping jacks and pushups? If you have, then you know that it just isn’t the best approach. And the same goes for introducing healthy food to your children. Instead of trying to make it a challenge you complete in a week, consider a more realistic time frame goal.
Even if your children only eat one healthy item from their plate during the first week, you should consider this a triumph!
For this reason, introduce new foods slowly onto their plate, and be sure not to replace any items during your the first week. Instead, use your healthy food offerings as a complement to their regular meal, making no fuss if they don’t seem too interested in the new additions.
Then, as the week or weeks progress, slowly start to replace certain targeted items with healthy alternatives, doing your best to make it as discreet as possible until the healthier options become the norm.
Battle the Flavor
Just because you can’t deep fry healthy food doesn’t mean that you can’t steal fast-food’s secret weapon: Flavor!
Look through your pantry and kitchen cabinets for any sauces, spreads, salts, gravies, and flavorings that you can find and put them on the table as you set it ready for dinner. Having these ready to use is a great incentive for children to cover their healthy food in the sauce or butter.
Of course, this isn’t an ideal scenario, but it’s only a transitional one. Similar to the tip mentioned above, slowly start to remove the flavor offerings, instead choosing to cook some flavors into the meals themselves, giving less and less reason each time for your child to reach for the sugary ketchup bottle.
Not bribery, incentives. For example, if you have recently come across a great vacation deal on the Groupon Coupons page for Priceline.com, consider allowing your child to choose the first three activities you do on vacation if they eat healthy items for a month. Similarly, if there are any new video games which your child is interested in, consider using one as a reward for two weeks of eating healthy outside of your home.
Just because kids don’t traditionally enjoy eating healthy food doesn’t mean that the behavior can’t be changed, it just takes a few tips, like the ones above!