Since we still have Kids Month going on at Cascade Chiropractic & Massage, I'd like to stay with the kid theme. And, we all know how picky kids can be when it comes to food. In fact, an unnamed sibling still prefers a good ol' chicken nugget to to a plate of grilled halibut and steamed broccoli (yum!). Anyway, I thought that I would pass along some tips that I have picked up along the way to aid in the process of expanding and adding healthy options to your child's diet.
1) When it comes to kids only liking the "white bread" options (chicken nuggets, hotdogs, mac 'n cheese, etc.) it really comes down to what you (the parent) are giving them. Yeah, these options are easy, but they are also typically devoid of nutritional value. More ethnic foods will usually have more flavor, nutrients, and use better, more natural ingredients. By introducing your child to ethnic varieties at an early age, such as Indian, Ethiopian, or Japanese food, you are opening their palates to a greater variety of tastier, healthier, less-processed cuisine.
2) The same goes for fruits and veggies. The more you give to them when they are young, typically the more they will enjoy and actually want them later on. I know quite a few kids who prefer carrot and celery sticks over a candy bar every time. Also, it's important to have that variety of fruits and veggies so that they don't get stuck in a rut of only "liking" one type. However, this also means that you need to consciously and wholeheartedly limit the junk that goes into their bodies. There's a reason that candies and sugary things are the smallest portion of the food pyramid. They are to be viewed as luxuries and once-in-a-while treats.
3) One of the best ways to get your child excited about what they are going to eat, even if it's healthy, is to get them involved. Almost every child wants to be able to do what mom and dad are doing, why not let them help plan or even make meals with you? There's a pretty cool resource out there that let kids engage in a nice, healthy competition aiming to plan and create the healthiest meal possible. http://www.zisboombah.com/ is a website that allows kids to login and creat their own virtual meals (with parental oversight of course). These virtual meals can then be e-mailed to their parents and they kids, along with their parents, can share in the opportunity of making a healthy, fun meal.
(By the way, if you haven't tried or even heard of Ethiopian food, I would highly recommend it. Your kids will like the experience because you eat with your hands!)