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These are some of the questions mothers ask themselves about their children’s diets. There are several things a mother can do to get kids to eat better. Instead of feeling guilty, learn about some of these little tricks that can ease your parenting responsibilities just a bit. You have plenty on your plate to deal with (pardon the pun), so relax and let us help you help your child eat healthier.
- The earlier you begin, the better. When you introduce pureed foods around the age of six months, offer green vegetables first. Then progress on the orange and yellow ones. Always offer pureed meats before you offer fruits. When your baby becomes a child, offer fruit instead of candy, juice instead of soda, and meat instead of pasta.
- Keep on a schedule. Children require food every four hours or so. Three meals a day, a couple of snacks, and plenty of fluids. If you offer food on a schedule, your child will not have drops in blood sugar and be racing to the frig for sugary sodas or to the cookie jar.
- Make decisions that please you both. Children will eat better if they feel they have picked the food. The trick here is to let him choose between two healthy foods. He is more likely to eat what he picks out.
- Don’t give in to tantrums. If you are introducing healthy foods to a child who has been used to eating junk, expect turmoil. There will be crying and whining (mostly from you) but don’t give in. Stand your ground and insist that he eat the apple slices instead of the fudge.
- Introduce healthy new foods slowly. It is normal for your child to be skeptical of new things. Do not offer asparagus and cabbage at the same meal or even in the same day. Remind him that some of his favorite people eat spinach, like Popeye.
- Plan your meals. Make sure what you are offering is well-balanced and not too carbohydrate rich. Each lunch and dinner meal should have protein and vegetables. Try to not feed your child the same foods over and over.
- Don’t harp and nag. As hard as this may be for some mothers, try to remain neutral and supportive. If you persistently request to your child “eat your veggies”, he may resist even more.
- Don’t be a short-order cook. This is where you fix different meals for everyone. This is too costly, too time-consuming, and too exhausting. No, not fair to mom (or dad, if he’s the cook). Fix one meal for everyone and don’t give in to the whining.
- Sneak it in. Kids will eat spaghetti with tomatoes even though they won’t eat a raw tomato. They also will eat tomato based soup. You can hid vegetables and fruits in different ways, so just be creative.
- Let ‘em dip it. Some children find that dipping vegetables is fun. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, apple slices, and other fruits and vegetable when dipped in cream cheese or ranch dressing become delightful.