Nutritionists and the USDA Food Pyramid all provide nutritional guidelines that suggest that offering a variety of nourishing foods to your children will help insure that they eat a healthy diet. In fact, they state that by choosing foods from the range of colors found in the rainbow you can generally obtain most of the necessary vitamins and minerals recommended for a healthy diet. "Rainbow" colored foods are easily found in the fruits and vegetables that are available in our grocery stores throughout the year. When you offer your kids an abundance of healthy food choices like those in the "food rainbow," while limiting their access to less nutritious pre-packaged "snack" goodies, you can feel reassured they are eating wholesome foods. Great rainbow foods include: *Bananas *Summer squash *Strawberries *Oranges *Carrots *Sweet potatoes *Tomatoes *Red peppers *Beets *Grapes *Blueberries *Blackberries *Spinach *Kale You may be surprised how easy it is to get your children to eat healthy food. We suggest you always have fresh fruit accessible to your kids at all times.
You may also want to give your children "carte blanche" to snack on fruit anytime, without asking permission. At snacktime, cut up vegetables and serve with a tasty dip your children have helped you prepare. Other ways to get rainbow foods into your kids' diet: *Top breakfast cereals with cut-up banana or strawberries. *Make yummy smoothies with frozen fruit and yogurt. Toss in a bit of kale for extra health (and your kids won't even notice!) *Mix chopped fruit with jello. *Start a vegetable garden.
Children love eating what they've grown themselves! How do you help your kids to try new foods when introducing healthy food choices? According to Contemporary Pediatrics, a new food needs to be served to children about ten times before most of them will accept it! Try introducing new foods at mealtimes, alongside some of their favorite foods. So when you serve a yummy spaghetti dinner, add a roasted vegetable medley on the side. The good news is that most children will eventually try it. Kids also say they are more likely to give a new food a try when they see their siblings or parents eat it. That's right; you need to eat healthy foods, too! Your food choices are a very important opportunity, so teach your children by setting a good example.
Offer lots of good-tasting, healthy choices at snack and mealtimes and you will encourage your kids to make healthy eating part of their life habits. If you teach your children to make the right choices "most of the time," when they are away from you it is more likely that they will make healthy choices, too. So remember to put a little color in their diet!.
Kathleen and Jennifer McVey have been preparing meals for kids for a combined 50+ years. Learn more of their tips, tricks and yummy recipes for children at Easy-School-Lunch-Recipes.com.