|Kid's Health (Archive)
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National Nutrition Month
Are you frustrated because your child isn't eating more fruits and vegetables? Just keep trying, says Sue Freck, R.D., a CHOC registered dietitian. You may have to serve a new food as often as 10 times before your child will show any interest in it. So encourage just one bite every time, and don't give up. AT THE TABLE
A healthy diet comes from a wide selection of foods, but many children are not eating the variety of fruits and vegetables they need. A 2006 study published by the American Dietetic Association showed that toddlers start eating fewer fruits and vegetables as they transition away from prepared baby food. White potatoes tended to be the vegetable of choice, in the form of French fries and mashed potatoes.
Early childhood is a critical time for developing food preferences and eating habits. Freck says pleasurable associations with shopping, food preparation and family meals help children develop healthy dietary habits for life.
AT THE GROCERY STORE
Enlist your child's help in choosing fruits and vegetables from a variety of colors and textures. Try something new every week.
"Make a game out of it. Say, 'Let's try some purple fruits and vegetables." The child may not even eat red cabbage, but they might be able to help unpeel the leaves and taste it," Freck says. "Or try a letter from the alphabet. For example, 'K' could be for kale, kumquat or kiwi."
IN THE KITCHEN
Cooking involves reading, math and science. Have your child match colors, or talk about where fruits and vegetables come from. You can also give your young helpers some hands-on experience:
How often do you sit down together as a family for dinner? If schedules conflict, consider breakfast. Try eating together several times a week. Ideally, mealtimes should be pleasurable experiences that offer children the chance to try new foods and the opportunity to learn good eating habits from their parents.
"Children need to learn how to pace themselves, be aware of when they are full, and not get into the overeating pattern," Freck says. "Home is the ideal place to encourage life-long, healthy eating habits."
Are you frustrated because your child isn't eating more fruits and vegetables? Just keep trying, says Sue Freck, R.D., a CHOC registered dietitian. You may have to serve a new food as often as 10 times before your child will show any interest in it. So encourage just one bite every time, and don't give up.
AT THE TABLE