How to Ensure Your Child Eats a Healthy Organic Diet
Getting a child to eat healthy can be a daunting task.
Having good food that a child can choose from and getting them involved in the process can help make this daunting task a little less so. Below are some tips to help ensure that children eat a healthy organic diet.
Teach about the Source of Food
Educating children about where food comes from is a very important tip.
Going to a local farmer’s market or to a farm and gathering the food that will be eaten can foster a lifelong appreciation and love of good food and good eating habits.
Planting a garden of one’s own is another good way to instill the love of the earth and the environment and teach about organic eating all at the same time.
Get Children Involved with Meals
If children are involved in the planning, shopping and preparations of meals, it inspires an investment in the process, and in turn makes the child more likely to eat the food being made. Even very young children of toddler age can help make choices by putting together a grocery list.
Simple ideas such as fruit parfaits or frozen yogurt popsicles are good ways to get young children involved in healthy eating practices.
Being armed with good nutritional information is a key factor in making sure children are eating good, organic food. Always read labels and become educated on what everything on a label means. A good source of information for finding healthy foods is looking to the internet for educational materials.
Making Healthy Snacks
If the kitchen is only stocked with healthy treats, then by default that is what the child will eat. Stock these healthy treats on shelves and in cabinets that children can reach without help. That way the choice is being made by the child to eat healthy. Another good spot to stock healthy snacks is in the car, as children are often in the car for a good portion of the day.Some good choices include carrot sticks, sliced apples, whole grain crackers, raisins, light popcorn, and bottled water.
Eating the five servings of vegetables and fruit a day doesn’t just have to come from food. Smoothies and many mixed fruit drinks can contain these servings in a delicious drink. Some suggestions for these drinks are mango lassie and watermelon slush. This can be a fun way for children to try new fruits and vegetables.
Freedom to Choose
Like most adults, children like the idea of having choice
Offering a base meal – for instance, rice and beans with whole wheat tortillas and lean taco meat – is a good place to start. The choice comes in when the child chooses what to top the base meal with. In this case the choices could be lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cabbage, salsa,cheese, parsley, jicama, peppers, and much more.
If pasta is on the menu, the choices could be anything from healthy sauces to healthy cheeses to herbs. This also works well for snack time. You can offer up a base and let the child choose the rest.
Adults are Role Models
Many studies have shown that children’s taste in food is directly related to what mom likes and dislikes. Making sure the child sees that mom eats and orders healthy food, such as salad instead of a burger, could encourage the child to eat and be mindful in the same way.
Children need multiple exposures to new foods in order to garner an appreciation for that food.
This simply means don’t give up trying to introduce new food. Maybe don’t offer the same new food every night but be persistent. This will pay dividends in the end. Teaching healthy eating habits early is important. Use every meal opportunity as a teachable moment. This helps even very young children to make healthy food choices.