As parents and grandparents, it is normal to be concerned about what our children eat – particularly at family dinner time. However, any parent who has engaged in a “you will eat your vegetables” battle knows that getting kids to actually eat healthier is sometimes easier said than done. Joy Musselman, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital, stopped by KUTV to give some tips to make healthier eating easier for both parents and kids.
o Let kids help – with menu planning, while grocery shopping, and in the kitchen – in age-appropriate ways.
o Provide a variety of choices - As a parent, you control what is served at a meal but provided a variety of healthy choices helps kids to feel like they also have some control as well and recognizes that taste preferences differ.
o Don’t short-order cook or offer an “open-pantry” but do allow regular meals and snack - This ensures that children are not going to “starve” if they choose not to eat much of what is served.
o Set some boundaries that teach good nutrition - An example might include requiring that everyone (parents included) choose 1 fruit and 1 vegetable from the choices provided or requiring that everyone taste a new dish prior to determining whether or not they like/dislike it.
o Don’t give up - It does take a long time – sometimes even years and many exposures – before a child will learn to like certain foods. Just keep at it and encourage repeated tastings in a positive and supportive manner.