Loading the player...Healthy Foods for Kids Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses getting kids to eat healthy foods.
Loading the player...Why are Children Picky Eaters Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses how to get picky kid eaters to enjoy foods.
Loading the player...How Screens Can Affect Eating Habits in Teens and Children Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how computer screens and computer devices can affect eating habits in teens and children.
Loading the player...How to Involve Children When Choosing Healthy Snacks Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how to get children involved in making healthy food choices for snacking.
Trying to get your kids more interested in healthy eating is a great idea.
First of all, you can try and have them participate in food preparation and meal planning. Ask them what they would like to have for dinner, and then get them to help peel the carrots, make the salad and set the table.
You can also have them make their own lunches. By participating in making the lunch, they’re more inclined to eat the food that they have put in there.
Have more family meals. Sit down at the table, turn off the TV and allow your children that are old enough, to serve themselves. Even four- and five-year olds would love to be able to take that spoon and put food on their own plate. Try not to talk too much about what they’re actually putting on their plate, and encourage them to take a selection, trying at least a bite of everything.
Be careful with after-school snacking. If the snack is a little bit too close to dinner, they may not want their actual dinner, and dinner often is one of the most nutritious meals of the day. So if they aren’t eating their dinner, try and wrap that up and offer it again later on.
Get rid of that junk food in the house. If you buy it, you can’t expect them not to eat it, so if it’s not in the house, they’re not going to eat it.
And finally, be a good role model. You can’t expect children to eat what you won’t. For more information on how to get your kids to eat healthy, contact your local registered dietitian.
Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian
Here’s a tip for mindful eating and children. When we eat in front of the TV, play video games, tablets, phones, we’re not paying attention to the food that’s going in. We’re not listening to the body’s signals.
We’re not tasting and chewing and appreciating the food. This will always lead to eating more and not feeling satisfied. And what happens is we actually lose our hunger and satiety cues.
Here’s a tip. Turn off the TV, turn off the video games, turn off the tablet. Eat in an environment with less distractions, in a family setting or in a nature setting. This will help kids develop their hunger cues and their satiety cues to help them for now but also later on in life. Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health.
If you have a picky eater at home, there are several things you can do when introducing a new food.
But remember as a parent your role is to provide healthy food at regular intervals during the day in a format that your child can handle. And it's up to your child to decide whether or not they're going to eat the food and how much.
When introducing a new food, make sure you're doing it in a happy environment when the child is most able to be interested in new foods. Make sure that it's calm and relaxing, that you're offering a very small portion of that food, because their stomachs are small, and they can actually get a little overwhelmed with too much of something new.
Offer that food with lots of different foods that you know they actually enjoy, so that if they don't want to eat that food, it's fine, they won't go hungry.
It may take up to 15 to 25 exposures of a new food for a child to try it. Offer that same food in a different format. Sometimes crunchy foods or softer foods are tolerated more. You may even want to invite some peers over, because if they eat it, they might try it.
And of course, act like a role model. If you're not eating it, how can you expect them to eat it.
Never use food as a reward. And the last thing you want to do is say "If you finish your vegetables you can have dessert," because that's just teaching them that vegetables are icky and that dessert is the good part of the meal.
Try not to talk about the food that's new at the table, and have conversations about things that they did during the day, rather than emphasizing the food. Don't compare them to other people at the table, and let them eat at their own pace, feeding themselves.
It's important that the child knows that you're respecting what you want, and their food likes and dislikes. For more information on feeding children and picky eating, contact your local registered dietitian.