Do Not Use Food as a Reward or Bribe
Never use food, especially desserts or sweets to bribe or reward your child. It will only make unhealthy foods harder for them to resist. By bribing children with food it makes it much more difficult for them to understand and know the difference of being full or if they are eating for comfort.
Try New Foods and Take Your Child Grocery Shopping
At the grocery store, let your child be involved in picking out a new fruit or vegetable that you have not tried as a family. You could also find a new recipe that you could make as a family. Encourage your child to try the new food at least 10-15 times before they decide they may or may not like it. It could be as simple as offering the new food with a yogurt dip, hummus, or even peanut butter.
Turn Off Distractions during Meal Times
Turn off the television, computers, IPADS and all electronics during the meal. Meal times should be at least twenty minutes to focus on eating not on other distractions. People often eat mindlessly when they are distracted with television and electronics.
Be a Good Role Model
Kids learn from their guardian or parents. If you are a picky eater or make negative comments about certain foods then your child will more than likely do that as well. It is also important to eat with your child, do not feed them separately. Meal time and eating is a social event and a great time to focus on their day.
Knowing When to Stop Eating
It is important that we let our children tell us when they are full. As adults we are suppose to provide healthy and nutritious foods for our children and let them determine how much to eat. By not having distractions with meals this will help your child know if they are full.
Plan Fun Meals
You could offer a healthy breakfast for dinner, such as eggs, turkey bacon, whole grain toast and fruit. Plan fun meals, maybe have a colored day of the week and offer a fruit or vegetable of the color of the day. For example, orange day offer sweet potatoes and oranges.
Make It Easy for Your Child to Make Healthy Choices
Try to keep healthy foods in your home at all times. If your child is hungry they will eat it the foods that are in the house. For example, place already prepared fruits and vegetables in an easily accessible spot in the refrigerator. Have a snack bowl with pre-portioned foods such as peanuts, fat free popcorn, or trail mix in a bowl for easy access.
Make activity part of your family’s daily routine. Do not call it “exercise” but just part of normal living.