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Picky Eater? Get Kids Involved in Making Healthy Choices

posted Nov 11, 2011, 10:12 PM by Mike Chen   [ updated Mar 21, 2012, 9:07 PM ]

Is mealtime a constant struggle in your household? If your kids are refusing to eat the healthy, colorful, balanced meals you’re serving, it might be time to give them a little control.

Of course, by control, we don’t mean that chicken nuggets and mac ’n’ cheese are your new go-to nightly menu. We do mean that putting kids in charge of the menu, with a carefully selected list of healthy options they can choose from, might mean they’re more likely to be onboard with what you serve if they feel like they played a part in the selection.

Here’s how to make it work:

  • Breakfast: Have a variety of healthy cereals on hand that kids can choose from. Instead of dictating what they eat, let them pick. Do the same with a variety of fruits, healthy spreads for whole wheat toast, even cut up veggies if you’re making omelettes. Kids can pick their own fillings!  
  • Lunch: Pack lunches in the evening and make it a family event. Set up a sandwich assembly station with a variety of whole wheat breads, lean meats such as chicken or turkey, and a variety of veggie fixings. Let kids pick their bread and meat, and let them know they have to choose at least one veggie to go on their sandwich. Set out low-calorie condiments like mustard or encourage kids to be creative with toppings such as hummus or mashed avocado. Round out their lunch pails with veggie crudités, low-calorie dip, yogurt, and fruit.  
  • Dinner: Before you go grocery shopping for the week, round up healthy recipes you’re thinking about preparing. Have a quick family huddle and put democracy into action by asking everyone to vote for their favorite meal. Prepare the top vote getters throughout the week for family mealtime with no drama.

Put these practices into action and spend less time arguing and more time eating!

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