A Mother’s Handbook For Promoting Healthy Eating In Children

It may take 12 to 17 exposures for a child to develop an interest in trying a new food.

Mayo Clinic states that introducing a new food to a child can take 12 to 17 exposures before they are willing to try it. This can be challenging for parents with picky eaters or children who favor junk food. To encourage healthy eating habits, parents can explore different mealtime strategies.

Strategize your meal choices 

Effective meal planning can be efficient and cost-effective, preventing any waste of resources when cooking for your child. Develop a customized menu that fits your child’s dietary needs and taste preferences. One issue with using online recipes is that some ingredients may be inaccessible or expensive, so it’s advisable to try recipes using accessible and budget-friendly ingredients.

Selecting appropriate ingredients 

Utilize the Go, Grow, and Glow concept from your own childhood in your child’s diet.

Go – Provide energy for your child’s day by including grains such as whole wheat bread, fortified cereals, and whole grain snacks. Opt for healthier carbohydrate options like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and wheat pancakes.

Grow – Give your child protein for healthy bones, muscles, and teeth, and to support growth. Offer chicken tenders and hard-boiled eggs, and diversify protein sources with lean meats and steamed/grilled fish. Encourage healthy snacking with protein-rich nuts.

Glow – Avoid neglecting the importance of vegetables in your child’s meals. Gradually introduce them to greens by including colorful fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, avocados, apples, oranges, and carrots in their diet.

Be Creative with Meal Prep 

Get creative in presenting your child’s meals in an attractive way. Making bento boxes can be a fun bonding experience with your child, or if you’re short on time, opt for tupperwares and lunch kits with bright colors and dividers to make lunchtime exciting.

Give your Child Choices 

Bring your child to the grocery store and give them the opportunity to pick out what food they like. Having ready-to-eat snacks like chopped fruits and veggie sticks in the fridge also encourages independence.

Read Labels Carefully 

Avoid sugary treats and snacks with empty calories. Make it a habit to check the nutritional facts on the packaging and educate your child on the importance of essential vitamins and minerals. If your child is taking vitamins, make sure they are getting the right nutrients by reading the product information.

Lead by Example 

The best way to introduce healthy eating to your child is by setting a good example. Make it a habit to eat healthy meals yourself and create a positive eating environment by allowing eating only in designated areas such as the kitchen and dining room. Discourage eating in front of the TV or in study areas.