It’s a question that’s been around for ages – what, exactly, should parents be doing to build healthy habits in kids?
in US News & World Report does a nice job of hitting the high points -- and communicating a sense of what is reasonable to expect from young children.
Dietitian Tamara Duker Freuman reminds readers that most children aren’t born loving veggies – and that helping kids to appreciate their veggies can be a long process. Her advice takes into account toddler personalities and takes a long view; in her mind, helping kids learn to love vegetables is more important than getting them to eat their peas and carrots on a particular day.
Her key recommendations?
Offer a variety of healthy foods, including vegetables, every day.
Let your kids decide whether to eat them, and resist the temptation to bargain or nag them to eat more.
Remember non-veggie vitamin sources.
If your little one shuns spinach and squash, and you’re worried about her getting enough Vitamin A, try mangos or sweet potatoes instead. And don’t be afraid to use fortified whole grains for some of the nutrients kids need.
Dress up veggies as needed.
Remember that cheese sauces, pesto, peanut dips and ranch can all be helpful for making vegetables more appealing to younger palates – don’t be afraid to try them!
We’ve talked before
about research that says kids might need to be exposed to certain foods many times before they develop a taste for it, so don’t give up!