Request your eBook Copy of Timmy the Tug and Billy Barge

Meet Grace

Shop Amazon

Pleasing your Pre-Schoolers Palette

One of the more difficult things that I have tried to work on with my daughter has been her eating habits, or more correctly trying to encourage good eating habits . She is now 4 and past the point where I think she is just going through a finicky phase or stuck on a certain type of food. In a effort to improve her diet we have used some tips from the Sneaky Chef to get more vegetables into her meals. Usually making an orange puree of carrots and sweet potatoes which is mixed in with Mac and Cheese (one of her favorites). Our main concern is not that she is getting enough calories, but rather that she is getting enough nutrients through the food she eats.
I would also like her to try a greater diversity of foods and find more types of food that she enjoys.
My goal is to have a diverse menu comprised of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and Lean proteins, while limiting sugar and fat intake.

I intend to impart this through having her help in planning our menus, helping with the shopping, participating in food preparation, and becoming educated about nutrition and the foods she eats.
Our current menu is generally some cereal or Oatmeal for breakfast with some fruit and milk.
(We have managed to keep the sugar laden cereals out of the cupboard.) Eggs or Pancakes are usually saved for the weekend. Breakfast is probably our most consistent meal of the day.
For lunch we usually have a sandwich on whole wheat bread. They are usually peanut butter & Jelly or Ham & Cheese. I have been unable to get any lettuce or veggies like Celery or carrots into the lunchtime mix on a regular basis but fresh fruit does get eaten usually. For snacks we sometimes have rice cakes with Honey,Yogurt or a fruit or energy bar. Dinner is usually the most inconsistent meal of the day. It is usually made up of a pasta, sometimes we get in a vegetable, milk or fruit juice, and sometimes some fruit the problem is that it is rarely completed.
I do not want to force her to eat foods that she does not like and she has been good with tasting stuff (Although I think her mind is made up prior to tasting the food)

Below are some tips and guidelines for getting your child to eat better
1) Set a good example: Start them early with a well balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and complex carbohydrates. If you start them on these things and limit the junk food to an occasional treat, you are bound to get them started on the right foot.
2) Involve them in the process as early as possible: Let your kids help you get the meals ready. You can have fun with this and make it a learning experience incorporating math (measuring and Counting) Science (Mixtures, observe, classify, predict) Try make it yourself pizzas with all the toppings--simply put all the toppings on the table and let them go to town. Use wheat flour dough , fresh veggies mixed in with the other topping choices, and low fat cheese to sprinkle on top. Make lunches together--provide whole wheat pitas and fill them up with lean turkey or ham, hummus as a spread, and chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and veggies of your choice to spice things up. You can even have them help at breakfast--make pancakes together and throw in some berries or bananas into the batter along with some chopped nuts for extra protein.
3) Set the table and remove distractions: During Meals the family should sit together and stay seated till the meal is over (Try to avoid getting up repeatedly to get stuff), remove distractions like television.
4) Don't make food a power struggle If you child doesn't eat encourage them to eat but keep it positive. Make sure they are exhibiting good good table manners then enjoy your meal. (set a good example) After your are done ask if they are finished then clear the plates from the table (Don't force kids to eat everything on their plates. Doing so teaches kids to override feelings of fullness. You can put their meal in the fridge in case they ask for something later).
It's easy for food to become a source of conflict. A good strategy is to give kids some control, but to also limit the kind of foods available at home.
Kids should decide if they're hungry, what they will eat from the foods served, and when they're full. Parents should control which foods are available to the child, both at mealtime and between meals. Here are some guidelines to follow
5) Avoid Snacks: Close to meal time avoid snacks and if meals are not finished do not give dessert or snacks after dinner. (I am surprised when parents whose kids have not eaten give them cake or ice cream)
6) Do not use Snack food as a bribe: Avoid using dessert as the prize for eating the meal. This sends the wrong message and may have a short term benefit but in the long term is not the behavior you want to create.
According to Bridget Aisbitt, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, forbidding young children from eating 'junk foods' high in fat, salt, and sugar could in fact fuel cravings making them want it more.

"Educating children about where food comes from, how that affects their bodies, what they can do with food to make good choices and how they can bring in so-called junk food as a very small part of their diet is more effective than 'you can not have that, that is bad'.

Try to get your children involved in a new food. Take them shopping with you; have them help pick out a recipe and prepare it.
When your child is eating, make sure they are not walking around the house with food and/or a drink in hand. Have them sit in the kitchen or at a play table and not sitting and watching a video or television as they eat. This could become a bad food habit.

Offer a new food repeatedly. If something's rejected two or three times, don't give up on it, Brann says. Research shows that it takes more than 10 exposures to a food before a toddler is willing to actually consume it.
"Even if she agrees to try it after it's been served just several times, it can be a lot longer before she actually eats it," she says.
Let'em play. Your toddler may sniff, smear and do everything but sample a new food. This is how they explore and "get to know" it.
Vary the packaging. Try foods, such as potatoes, in different forms: mashed, baked, french fries, hash browns and more.
Let your child see others eat the food. Toddlers love to imitate. Watching people sample new snacks can make foods more enticing, so get together with friends and offer to share new foods at play dates.
Don't pressure, force or make a big deal out of it. Nutritionist Ellyn Satter, R.D., author of Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense (Bull Publishing), promotes the "division of responsibility" around eating: The parent is responsible for what, when and where to eat. The toddler is responsible for how much and whether to eat. And, says Brann, "Over the long term, your child will make good choices."

Some online resources:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something - Leave us a comment