Top tips for kid-friendly, healthy meals

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 01, 2011 0 Comments

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Picky Picky: How to eat healthy with picky eaters

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 01, 2011 2 Comments

how to eat healthy with picky eatersI know this kid. When she was a toddler she ate everything. Then she turned three and her expansive palette narrowed like a construction zone on El Camino. If you declare one more time, “You must eat your broccoli before you can have dessert!” you might explode. How do you get back on track? Here are my tips for how to eat healthy with picky eaters!

1. Keep it fun!

I yell, “Get your shoes on, we’re going to be late!” -- nothing happens. My husband exclaims, “Kids team against Daddy, race ya!” and my kids are ready before I can put my coffee cup in the dishwasher. A game is engaging and kids want to have fun. At the table, count colors, share jokes, play “kids team” against parents. Bonus points for good manners and trying new foods! Crunch a Color is a great tool for keeping it fun.

2. Let the kids choose.

Young children do not get to control much, but they can control what they eat. Set them up for success by serving up a balanced, colorful meal and then, in a fun and playful way, let them choose. Think protein + 3 colors + healthy grains. This little formula gives kids an easy to understand goal, then puts them in the driver’s seat. Be a role model by making healthy choices for your own plate as well.

3. Be flexible.

What works for one child might not for the other. Always be aiming for a colorful, balanced meal, but be flexible in how you get there. Think about nutrition over the course of a week as opposed to just one meal. Take what they already like and find new ways to prepare it. If they like roast chicken, try a chicken with veggies stir fry. Mostly, be patient, positive, and flexible

This article appears in the October 2011 issue of Jen's column, Healthy Eating, that is featured in the Burlingame Mothers' Club newsletter each month. The BMC is a local mothers group in the Bay Area with over 1,700 members in Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo. Jen is an active member and former President of the club. 

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