Healthy Eating for Kids
Our recent newsletter covers Kids and Radiology. This week’s blog post will talk about how to get and keep kids eating healthy. If you don’t get our monthly e-newsletter, and you’d like to, subscribe here.
Children can be notoriously picky eaters and getting them to try new foods (especially vegetables) and eat a balanced diet, can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips for encouraging healthy eating habits in kids:
Eat the Rainbow. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes are healthier than “white” vegetables such as potatoes. Encourage kids to eat a rainbow of foods each day.
Go for Organic. Young children are more sensitive to pesticides and chemicals used in plant growth. If organic produce isn’t too costly, it’s well worth it. To see which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic and which are safe to buy non-organic, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide.
Play with Food. Letting kids play with their food — i.e., make their own creations or make decorative foods — is a great way to incorporate different veggies. Who doesn’t like broccoli “trees” or carrot “swords” or “boats” made out of zucchini or cucumber?
Hide the Veggies. For kids who are resistant to eating vegetables, try disguising them. Zucchini bread, carrot cake, and bran muffins are all easy ways to slip some nutrition into what seems to be a treat. Also consider adding shredded carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, and mixing vegetables into pasta.
Healthy Substitutions. Instead of cookies or candy, give kids bowls of berries, cherries, or mixed raisins and nuts for snacks. Instead of french fries, try oven roasted sweet potato wedges. Instead of iceberg lettuce, try a darker green like spinach or mixed baby greens. Use fresh vegetables whenever possible, and frozen rather than canned.
Let them Cook. When children are involved in the cooking, they will be more likely to try the finished product. Let kids take part in food preparation (supervised of course) and they may be willing to try foods they never would have tried before.
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