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Parents Helping Parents: Encouraging Healthy Eating

How often have you sat at the dinner table with your kiddo, wishing they would just try one bite of the meal in front of them? Ensuring kids who eat orally are getting a healthy, balanced diet can certainly be a challenge – especially when you’re trying to expand their palate and introduce them to new foods.

But never fear – with the right moves up your sleeve, children will be more likely to try (and maybe even enjoy!) new, healthy foods. So here is some advice from parents (and one of our dietitians) who have been there and done that.

Need some inspiration for healthy meals that both kids and parents will love? Check out the Pediatric Home Service Pinterest page – there are dozens of recipes on our Kid Friendly Feasts board.

What is your advice for getting kids to eat healthier?

  • “Eat healthy yourself as a parent”
  • “Eating healthy yourself and keep offering. It can take as many as 20+ times of a child trying a new food to accept it. We have a 3 bite rule. You try 3 bites and mom will leave you alone!”
  • “I’m very honest with my kids about everything including where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate. So when it comes time for more groceries, they’re able to make healthier decisions and help pitch in with the shopping then eating. I also only buy what I want them to eat. If I don’t want them drinking pop or snacking on chips, those things never reach my cart.”
  • “Lead by example – children will watch your habits and do as you do.”
  • “Keep lots of fruit and veggies in the house. They can only snack on what you have available!”
  • “Roast veggies. Everything is good roasted!”
  • “Get them involved in cooking with you – make the process of creating a meal a fun and educational experience.”
  • “Mix fruits and vegetables in with their favorite dishes – it will help them get nutrients and realize healthy food can taste good too.”
  • “At snack time, offer your child two health snacks, such as carrot sticks or apple slices, and allow your child to choose what they would like. This is an easy way to involve your child in making healthy choices. Don’t forget to sit down and share the snack with them to model healthy eating habits, and praise your child for choosing a healthy snack for you to share!” PHS dietitian Sarah Lofboom, MS, RD, LD

How do you make healthy eating fun and easy for your kids? Share the tips in the comments, and come back to see what other people are saying – we’re always building resources for our families! 

Originally published: January 21, 2014

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