Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kids Eat Right Month: 3 Steps to Healthy Eating

Happy Kids Eat Right Month! As a pediatric registered dietitian (RD), I often get asked many questions about feeding children in a healthy way. This month we will discuss many topics about healthy eating with a focus on teaching children how to eat healthy. Luckily, these principles can be applied to children of all ages (including adults who are kids at heart)!

So, the most common question I get is "How do I get my child to eat healthy?". We will discuss several strategies to eat health. So to start, we need to offer healthy options. We can do this in a few simple steps.

1) Have healthy options available.
We discussed 8 tips for eating healthy on a budget earlier this month. This is a simple step that is vital. You have to have healthy options available to eat them. If you fill your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy options, you will make a healthy choice by default. Remove the temptation of high calorie and high fat foods by not buying them. If they are not in your home, they are not a temptation.

2) Cook a healthy meal. Have your family, including children, help you in the kitchen.
Cooking meals take time. You can have your roommate, friends, spouse, or your children help you in the kitchen. When we are involved in the cooking, we are more willing and more likely to try the foods. The same is true for children. If they are familiar with a food, they are more likely to try the food.
It is important to make a safety a priority in the kitchen. So, here are some tips for age-appropriate kitchen tasks.

Cooking Skills by Age

  • 6-7 years - crack eggs, measure dry ingredients, shuck corn on the cob
  • 8-9 years - open cans, whisk ingredients (like scrambled eggs), juice lemons and limes
  • 10 years and older - be a sous chef and slice or chop ingredients, boil pasta, use the microwave, bake food in the oven

*Parents, remember to supervise kids at all times in the kitchen.

3) Build a healthy plate.
You've purchased healthy foods. How do you make them appetizing? Use the MyPlate method to build a healthy meal. You can also check out my quick and easy recipe for green chips to help encourage increase intake of vegetables.

Stay tuned all this month for more on healthy eating and Kids Eat Right Month. For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment