Healthy Kid's Habits: Teach Your Kids To Like Healthy Food

Instead of forcing children to eat food they don't like, learn new ways to help make them like the food they have to eat.

Introduce your child to new foods on a regular basis. We all have things that we don't like to eat, so we know that telling kids that they have to like everything they try is a loosing battle. But just because you gave your child a certain healthy food once and they didn't like it then, doesn't mean they'll never eat that food again.

Take a moment to think back to your childhood. Remember all those foods your mother tried to force you to eat that you hated? Asparagus, broccoli, spinach, eggplant are not what one might have considered to be kid friendly foods during your generation either. But when did you finally learn to like those vegetables? Chances are you don't remember the exact moment in time because these things just happen gradually. So don't be afraid to gradually integrate new foods into your family's dinner menu. One day, your child will learn to love that salad.

But sometimes when the battle seems hopeless, parents need a little help. So here are three excellent tips for parents to try on those days when little Susie just doesn't seem to like anything.



1) Your new menu planning strategy should be this: in with the new but not out with the old. Taking away macaroni and cheese and replacing it with mushrooms doesn't sound like a very fair trade to a kid. To make the meal you put in front of her look a lot more appetizing, put something on it that you know she will love to eat, and alongside it can be a serving of a new vegetable. Another great way to use this same idea is to make kabobs. Skewer tried-and-true chicken or cheese with bell peppers, tomatoes and other new veggies and a few old favorites too. Keep finding new ways of presenting the new vegetable, by cooking or presenting it differently or by pairing it up with another, different old favorite. Eventually you will fond a combination or two that your kid will want to eat again.

2) Dips are fun and tasty. So don't keep them from your kids. Yes, ranch dressing is high calorie, but you can still let them have some of it. If they don't like the taste of cucumbers alone, there is nothing wrong with dressing them up a little to make the flavor more appealing. Your kids will eventually learn to like the taste of cucumbers without needing a dip, but for now, veggies and dip is definitely a step above Happy Meals. Come up with new, lower fat dip options for fruits. ( Ranch just won't do the trick when it's combined with strawberries.) Try using low fat flavored yogurts, like vanilla or strawberry, honey, or cinnamon flavored applesauce as a fruit dip.

3) Make vegetables appetizing. How? By making them the appetizer. Start cooking up something that smells delicious to get the kids' stomachs rumbling. Then, a few minutes before dinner is ready, set down a tray of fruits or vegetables, with dip if you want, and let the kids have at it. They'll be so hungry that they will be sure to eat up all the carrots and broccoli florets long before the rest of the meal has time to hit the table.

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