College of DuPage Nursing Student Janette Macias wrote that eating a healthy, well-balanced meal is important for everyone. Nutrition plays a key role in healthy growth and development. According to The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2020), a healthy diet with a variety of food includes a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients to make meals more flavorful. Establishing a foundation with all the necessary food groups is essential, especially during young ages. While it may be a challenge to get your child to eat fruits and vegetables, these foods have many essential nutrients to benefit growth.
Let Them Choose What to Eat
A great way to encourage children to eat healthily is to include them in the meal planning process. Let them choose a favorite recipe that has the added benefit of encouraging the child to show interest in the meal. Selecting a visually appealing meal, that has varied colors and textures, may be used as a strategy to disguise the vegetables and fruits. Many new foods are enjoyable or more inviting to children to try for the first time when they are cooked in a new way, or by using a recipe that is more appealing, such as apple nachos or zucchini fries.
Taking children shopping to purchase ingredients for the meal also makes for a fun experience. As you walk through the store, play the game, I Spy, to find foods of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Make this trip a learning experience by discussing the process of how the food is harvested; is the fruit or vegetable grown on a tree, underground, or does it have seeds?
Now comes the fun part. Give your child specific tasks to help with the preparation of the food. This is the time for children to be creative and explore, using all of their senses. Allow children to rinse, chop, and read the recipe while preparing the food item or meal.
The last step is the most enjoyable of all … taking the time to eat the final product and enjoy it!
Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate. (2020, October 19). Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate/