Is your child getting enough out of their food? Whether you have a picky eater or a selective snacker, your child may be missing out on one key food group: vegetables. According to a national survey on children's eating habits, American toddlers are more likely to eat french fries than green vegetables on any given day. Ensuring your child's nutrition doesn’t have to be a sore subject. Try these helpful tips to keep your family happy and healthy:
Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should consume vegetables with every meal and snack. Although this may sound daunting, try keeping vegetables washed, cut, and in plain sight in the refrigerator in order to peak your child’s interest. Include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable throughout the day to add even more healthy vitamins into your child's diet.
Make dinner more fun
Mix it up for dinner! Experiment with cooked, steamed, or raw vegetables for dinner, but make sure that your audience approves. Take a trip to the grocery store and ask your child to pick out a vegetable for dinner. Don't forget to involve him in the food preparation process for their expert opinion on what he likes best. By asking your child which vegetables and cooking style he prefers, you can promote healthy eating habits. Try out vegetarian or vegetable substitutes for a creative new twist on dinner tonight!
Don't use dessert as a reward
Using dessert as a reward communicates to your child that some foods are better than others. This will teach your child to dislike certain foods because of the negative connotation associated with them. Don't neglect your praise for nutrient-packed, immune system-boosting veggies! Your child will notice how you describe certain foods, so try to encourage them to eat veggies without relying on sugary foods for support. Utilizing non-food rewards, such as stickers or more playtime, will help them to associate veggies with positive outcomes instead of punishments.
Be a role model
Your child notices which foods you eat and prefer, so make sure to set an example by snacking on some crunchy veggies after work or incorporating another vegetable into your family's dinner throughout the week. Confirmation from you may help your child to try new veggies in the future.
Incorporating vegetables into your child's diet at a young age will help her to establish good nutritional habits for the rest her life.
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About Pediatric Services
Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children's services to Bucks and Montgomery County communities. The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services.
About Doylestown Health Nutrition Services
Doylestown Health Nutrition Services offers personalized nutrition plans for those with a current medical condition or those interested in preventive health and weight loss. Doylestown Health Nutrition Services specializes in nutrition therapy for diabetes, weight management, cardiovascular disease, digestive and eating disorders, pregnancy, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.