Make a Schedule:
Kids need to eat every three to four hours. They should eat three healthy meals each day, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan properly for each meal and snack, your child won't be hungry and they will be less cranky. It is a good idea to keep a cooler in the car, filled with carrot sticks, yogurt, pretzels, and water. This way, you won't need to rely on fast food when your kids are hungry.
If planning a full weeks worth of dinners seems to be too much, you should plan just two or three days ahead of time. Your dinners don't need to be fancy, but they should include something from all of the food groups. You should include whole grain bread, rice or pasta, a fruit or vegetable, and a source of protein, such as lean meat, protein, or cheese. If you are short on time, you can make simple soups or entrees and freeze them. On a busy day, you can heat it up and serve it with whole grain bread and cut up apples. It is a quick and easy way to serve a healthy meal.
Don't Be a Short Order Cook:
Many parents fall into the habit of making one meal that their kids will like and one meal that the parents will like. This can be very time-consuming. Instead, make a meal for everyone and serve it family style. This will give the kids a chance to choose the foods that they want. Since kids often mimic their parents, you will likely find that they have the same foods on their plate that you do.
Bite Your Tongue:
Most parents comment on what their children are eating and how much of it they are eating. This is a mistake. You have already done your job by serving a well-balanced meal, you have done your job. If you keep telling your kids to eat their vegetables, they will start to resist.
Introduce New Foods Gradually:
By nature, kids are afraid of new foods. If your child doesn't like a food the first time, tell them that their taste buds need to get to the new taste before they will like it. If your child refuses to even try a certain food, tell them that their favorite singer, athlete, or actor eats the food. When it comes to introducing a new food, do it gradually. You don't want to offer your child a new food every day. Let them enjoy the first food for a while before you introduce another one.
Offer Them Dip:
If your children are not huge fans of certain foods, give them something to dip it in. For example, if your kids don't like carrots, offer them some ranch dressing to cover up the taste. Hummus, salsa, and salad dressing works just as well.
Sneak in the Fiber:
Most kids don't have enough fiber in their diet. The best way to rectify this problem is to sneak fiber into their breakfast. Offer your children high fiber cereal that tastes great. You can also make a batch of whole grain waffle or pancake mix that you can use for a few days. This will save time in the morning.
Sneak in Soy:
If your kids aren't allergic to milk, you should give them soy milk. If your kids are like most, they aren't huge fans of soy milk. Luckily, there are ways that you can sneak it into their diet. When you need to use milk in a recipe, such as in mashed potatoes, oatmeal, or sauces, use soy milk. They will never know the difference.
Involve Your Kids in the Cooking:
If you are having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy, you should include them in planning and preparing the meal. Take them to the supermarket and let them choose the produce. When cooking, let them measure out the ingredients, if they are old enough, let them cut up the vegetables, and let them do any age appropriate tasks while preparing the meal. If they are part of the preparation, they will be more likely to want to eat what you prepared.
Don't Buy So Many Sweets:
If you don't buy too many sweets, you children will be forced to eat the healthy foods that you have in the home.