I went out to dinner with my friend Dara and her 4-year-old daughter last week and watched in amazement as her little cutie picked every last bit of green vegetable out of her dinner.
I smiled (my son is only 5 months old so I don’t have to deal with picky eating yet), but Dara was frustrated. “How can I get her to eat better?” she asked.
I’d just been gathering lots of great ideas for getting kids to eat healthier for EatingWell’s new back-to-school guide so I told her I’d e-mail her a few to get her imagination going. Here’s what I sent to help her get started. (Find 6 more tips for getting kids to eat healthier here.)
1. Fill them up with fiber. Few kids crave a fiber-rich meal. But fiber is filling and when combined with drinking plenty of water, helps prevent constipation. A high-fiber food has 5 grams or more of fiber per serving and a “good” source of fiber is one that provides 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving. Get 20+ healthy dinner ideas for kids including recipes for healthier favorites like macaroni and cheese and desserts like the Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt pictured above.
2. Delight kids with dips. Diving vegetables and fruits into yummy dips makes kids’ lunches more fun. Offer apple slices with a half-cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt; serve carrot sticks with a side of hummus. Get easy recipes for snacks like Hummus & Veggies, lunches and more.
3. Serve single portions and your kids will be less likely to overeat. Avoid letting the kids take an entire bag of chips or a container of ice cream to the couch; instead, dish out individual portions in the kitchen first. Or, if you cook large batches of food and store the leftovers, separate them into smaller portions before you put them in the fridge or freezer. This way, your kids can automatically grab a single portion. Get started with these 10 days of 100 calorie (or less) snacks.
What tricks have helped your picky eaters eat healthy? Tell us what you think below.