“Give a child a healthy meal and you will feed them for a day; teach a child how to make a healthy meal and they will eat well for a lifetime.” -Proud Founder of Nouveau Nutrition, Kira J. Pantschenko
Dinner time should be a time where you share a meal with your family and hear about each other’s day. For many families, dinner time has turned into a battle to get your child to eat a couple of bites of their vegetables. Nouveau Nutrition has put together these 5 helpful tips that will help turn your dinner time from a power struggle to a time of enjoyment.
Problem: Have you become a short order cook?
You prepare a meal that you think your whole family will enjoy, then your child sits down and says, “I’m not eating that, where is my….(fill in the blank)?” or “My pasta is touching the broccoli, Yuk.” You end up making a whole new meal because you don’t want your child to miss a meal. This ends up becoming an everyday thing. If you have a toddler, they are starting to assert themselves and seeing exactly what they can get away with.
Tip: Try to add small portion of a new foods with their favorite foods. Give them a vegetable (find out if they prefer cooked or raw) and serve it with their favorite dip or sauce. It’s important to have your child eat vegetables even if they have it with some cheese or dip on top.
Problem: He or she is just not hungry.
Sometimes kids are just not hungry. There can be many reasons for a child not wanting to eat. Did they just have snack an hour ago? Did they just drink a glass of milk or juice? All of these things can lead to a decrease in appetite. Remember that even though milk and juice are a liquid they have calories that will fill up your child.
Tip: Try to stick to a routine; have snacks at the same time everyday and offer your child water in between meals. When they come home from school, offering a snack of cut up fruit which is filled with fiber can aid in taking longer for the food to digest. Which can help prevent sugar rushes and sugar crashes. This will also keep them full for a longer time. Follow these steps and when dinner time rolls around your child is ready to eat their meal.
Problem: I have no idea what to make for dinner.
Pinterest anyone? Now a days everyone is looking to Pinterest for ideas for recipes especially for their children. Have you ever looked at a picture of food or read a recipe and you swear you can smell it?
Tip: Take some time with your child and let them look around on Pinterest. A quick search of “Healthy Kids Recipes”, yields thousand of ideas. Many of pictures make vegetables look very appetizing. Allow your child to choose several options, then together choose one that you are going to make. This act of choosing what they will eat gives them independence and can help expand their palate. Let them be part of the whole experience from choosing the recipe, going to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients to preparing the food. It will be an adventure for you and your child.
Problem: My child is glued to their iPad.
We are all consumed with our phones, tablets, and computers. Children are constantly being distracted making it very difficult for them to pay attention. If they are in the car or waiting for a long period of time, they have a device within reach.
Tip: Remove any and all distractions from the dinner table area. PERIOD! Dinner time is supposed to be about family and sharing a meal together. Your child should be focusing on what is going on around them. The children can watch Dora or Pippa the Pig another time. For many families, this is the only time when families can spend quality time together.
Problem: Many studies have shown that it can take over 20 times of repeated exposure before a child will even decide to take a small bite of a new food. This can be a very daunting challenge. Your child will not change their eating habits overnight, change comes with time. Have hope; remember when you thought your baby would never sleep through the night?
Tip: If your attempt at trying to add a new food to your child’s plate blew up in your face, try again tomorrow. Get some feedback from your child. There are many children that love raw vegetables but will NOT eat them if they are cooked. The simple act of cutting up fruits and vegetables will greatly increase the likelihood of your child eating what you have prepared. I did a study with a few clients and their children. I went over to their houses and I placed a whole apple on their kitchen counter and next to the whole apple I placed sliced apples. I called the children in and without prompting them to eat the apples they reached for the cut up apples. This happened in 85% of the households.
At the end of the day, we all would like our children to be happy and healthy. Please try these tips and email me [email protected] and let me know how well they worked out.
Nouveau Nutrition for Kids provides positive nutrition counseling for your child to give them a healthy outlook on food. By empowering your child with knowledge about healthy eating they will make appropriate food choices that will last a lifetime.
Yours in health,
Kira J. Pantschenko
Proud Founder and Nutritionist of Nouveau Nutrition
Contact Kira at: 203-442-6027 or [email protected]