Kids and Diet: It’s Not About Eating Apples Anymore
Surely you’ve heard the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? And surely your child or children fights you at every opportunity when it comes to eating healthy, but don’t fret. There are several ways you can incorporate a healthy diet and your child is none the wiser.
September is Fruits & Veggies—More Matters month. Healthfinder.gov is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to spread the positive aspects of this initiative and its health benefits. Now, onto the issue of getting your children to eat more fruits and veggies.
One of the most important things you can do first would be to remove the “empty calories.” Empty calories are the fast foods, the junk foods, the things that taste good, but aren’t necessarily good for you and your overall well-being. An occasional “treat” (and that means once to twice a week at the most) will not harm your children, but you can also substitute those “treats” with healthier options:
- Apple slices with plain vanilla yogurt on the side
- Strawberries with low-fat Cool Whip topping
- Frozen fruits (grapes, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
Veggies are a bit trickier than fruit. With fruit being “nature’s candy” it’s sweet. However veggies aren’t totally lost. Below are a few options, some sweet and some not so sweet, that can appeal to a child’s meticulous nature:
- Celery sticks and/or carrot sticks with peanut butter
- Celery sticks can also be paired with low-fat ranch dressing
- Broccoli florets with ranch dressing
To help you get started, introduce some of the fruit options first (or ones you’ve created on your own) and then slowly introduce the vegetable options. Since peanut butter has a sweeter taste and a great boost of protein, it will pair well with the celery and get your child on the right track.
Healthy eating habits begin with the introduction of solid foods. Children have issues with vegetables because parents force them on them once a diet has already been in place for a while. Begin early and they will adapt just fine. Also, since children soak up knowledge very quickly, if parents eat fruits and vegetables and let their children see them doing so, they will mirror their parents’ behavior easily.
We can help you with other suggestions to slowly but surely launch your family in a healthy direction. Feel free to give us a call at (910) 486-5437.