Despite the diets of U.S. children improving considerably over the past two decades, as many as 56% of youngsters still follow a nutritionally-poor diet, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What a child consumes has a very big and direct impact on their health and well-being.
By ensuring your child follows a varied, balanced diet, you make sure that their bodies are provided with all the nutrients it requires to develop and grow.
Unfortunately, getting a child to eat a variety of foods is often an uphill battle.
Children and toddlers, in particular, often fall in love with a particular food or food group, refusing anything else that is offered to them.
While this may be frustrating for any parent, all hope is not lost.
There are a number of ways in which you can encourage your picky eater to try new foods which can boost their own well-being considerably.
The Benefits of Cooking Together
Research has shown that children develop a more positive attitude towards food if they are actively involved in the preparation of it.
For this reason, getting your children involved in meal preparation can make it significantly easier to get them to eat a varied diet.
Teach basic and age-appropriate food prep skills to a child will not only supply them with a lifelong skill but may also increase their intake of nutritional foods.
Apart from allowing your child to help in preparing the family’s meals, also encourage them to give ideas about what should be on the menu.
With a bit of guidance, you may be pleasantly surprised at what innovative and healthy meals they can come up with.
Make Eating Fun
One of the most effective ways to ensure a child eats a varied range of foods is to introduce a variety of options from a young age.
Foods should not only vary in flavor but texture, smells, temperature, and appearance as well.
If too many new options are introduced to the palate at the same time, chances are a child may become overwhelmed so opt to add one or two new foods at a time.
Signing up for a food subscription box is a great way to expose your children to a range of new foods.
Depending on the box you opt for, you can expect to have a range of pre-made snacks, meal ingredients, and recipes delivered to your home on a regular basis.
Lead by Example
It is going to be very difficult to encourage your children to try new foods if you are a picky eater yourself.
If your child sees you pulling faces when trying something new they will more than likely follow your example.
Instead, lead by example and model healthy and varied eating habits.
If you want your children to eat more fruit and vegetables, show them how much you enjoy eating it, and do the same with any new food you want to introduce to them.
Also, remember to apply the same guidelines when dealing with all your children and rope in the older children to help encourage their younger siblings to try new foods.
A balanced diet is of the utmost importance to a growing child.
By encouraging your children to try new foods, you have a much better chance of ensuring that your child is not lacking any essential nutrients required for growth and development.