Is your family ready for a fresh start after giving in to the temptation of holiday treats? The New Year offers us the perfect opportunity for the whole family to recommit to Grow Fit. It’s also a great time to start new traditions, explore new family activities and introduce new menu items – which can be daunting.
Remember that it’s natural for young children to be cautious about trying new foods. Their taste buds are highly sensitive during the early years, as they decide what tastes and textures they like. With a little creativity and a lot of patience, you can help turn around a picky eater. Here are some tips on getting your family to accept a wider variety of healthy foods.
- Set a good example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is likely to follow suit. In a similar way, if your child sees you or another role model making an icky face in connection with a food such as Brussels sprouts, he is more likely to also have an aversion to the food before even trying it.
- One new food at a time, please. Don’t overwhelm your child with a variety of new dishes. Always continue to provide other food at the meal that she likes in addition to the “new” food.
- Be patient. Accepting and eating a wide variety of foods happens over time. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food – possibly as many as 10 to 15 failed attempts – before eating it on his own.
- Have your child help prepare the meal. Children who help out in the kitchen and participate in meal preparation tend to be more enthusiastic about eating healthier foods.
- Plant a garden with your child and have him help care for it. Children who are interested in gardening tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
A healthy diet, combined with exercise, is just the recipe for getting the New Year off to the right start. What simple changes does your family plan to make with the goals of eating better and being more physically active?