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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

How to Get Children to Eat Healthy and Like it! Part One

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Experiment with New Foods!

You may be surprised by what children like or are willing to try. Be creative and listen to their ideas. Unique food combinations may appeal to your children but not to you. Try not to let your own food preferences influence their choices. Keep an open mind and strive to provide a variety of different foods from each of the five food groups – whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy sources (for children 2 years or older; children younger than 2 years of age should drink whole milk).

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

1. Children may not like a certain food the first time it is introduced but continue to offer it because they may accept it after being exposed to it five or more times.
2. Offer new foods at the beginning of meals or snacks when children are the most hungry.
3. Encourage them to try it in a matter-of-fact manner rather than forcing or bribing.
4. Before offering children a new food, discuss the food. It’s color, texture, aroma, size, shape rather than whether it tastes “good” or “bad.”
5. Be encouraging and provide a positive and healthy food environment.
6. Help children become accustomed to the same food prepared in different ways such as raw vegetables versus steamed versus roasted or grilled.

Be a positive role model.

1. Prepare and eat a variety of different foods.
2. Be daring and try a new fruit or vegetable each week or month.
3. Make the beginning of each month, “Daring Day,” and prepare a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish with a new food item such as a different type of grain like quinoa or couscous or a new vegetable (e.g. yams or asparagus) or try an exotic fruit (e.g. star fruit, mango, pomegranate).
4. Be adventurous as a family and you may just be surprised by what your taste buds like!

For more on how to be a positive influence on your kids eating habits, see Parent Role Modeling -How to Help Your Children Choose Wisely.

For Quick Kid Approved Recipes see Moms on the Go: Check Out These Great Recipes.


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About the Author

Picture of Katie Jeffrey-Lunn, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, LDN

Katie Jeffrey-Lunn, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, LDN

Katie is a Registered, Certified, and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She owns her own business, FitNutrition, in Mystic, CT. Katie is passionate about helping others be the best they can be both physically and emotionally. To do so, Katie provides individual counseling, sports nutrition, and gives nutrition presentations to athletes, students, and adults.

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