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Healthy eating is required for proper growth and brain development in children. The early years are when a child's body is experiencing the fastest growth rate. Junk food lacks the vitamins needed for a healthy diet. There are some changes you can make to encourage healthy eating among your children.
The first step in encouraging healthy eating is to offer the healthy foods alongside the preferred foods. If your child only wants to eat hot dogs, place them on a plate with some broccoli and whole grain rice. It may not look like the healthiest meal, but at least your child is getting some vegetables and whole grains in his diet. Don't make the hot dogs look like they are a treat, as your children will treat it like one. The forbidden foods are often the most desired.
When serving healthy foods to your kids, prepare it in an attractive manner. Kids don't want to eat something that doesn't look like it would taste good. You can even arrange it to look funny. For example, make a teepee out of carrot and celery sticks or a happy face out of bacon and eggs. Cereal makers figured this out a long time ago when they began making brightly colored cereals in the shape of superheroes.
Keep healthy snacks within easy reach of your child. Keep portioned out bags of healthy snacks in a drawer that your child can access on his own. You can make it easy for you and fun for your child if you allow her to prepare the bags herself. The snacks can consist of foods such as whole grain crackers, dried fruit, raisins, cheerios or pretzels.
Young children need to feel as if they have some control over themselves. One way you can help encourage his feelings of self-worth, and encourage healthy eating, is to offer limited choices. For example, ask your child if he wants corn, peas or carrots with his dinner. He has to eat his vegetables but he gets to choose which one he wants.
Encouraging healthy eating requires patience. You may waste a lot of food but that is a small price to pay for the health of your child. Studies have shown that it can take ten instances of presenting a food to a child before she will try it. Eat your meals with your child and let her see that you enjoy healthy eating as well.