1). Family Dinner Time: Dining together is important. According to a study by Hammons & Fiese, 2011 – children in families that sit down to dinner together regularly are 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24% more likely to eat healthier foods and 12% less likely to be overweight. Connecting over dinner teaches manners, social skills, and engenders self-worth. Another study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found kids who ate dinner with their families at least five times per week were also the least likely to take drugs, feel depressed or get into trouble.

Model behavior

2). Model Behavior: Do you skip meals? Do you eat correct portion sizes? Do you eat your vegetables? Kids learn by example – if you don’t have healthy eating habits, how are they suppose to learn them?

3). The Family that Cooks Together, Stays Together: Why should you do all the work? Enlist your children’s help with age appropriate tasks from choosing the best vegetable to chopping them, from making marinades to sautéing. It’s not only a great way to bond, they are much more likely to eat what they had a hand in cooking. Plus, they learn math, science, and life skills in the process. I call that a win any way you break it down!

IMG_0097

… even if their chore is to be chief taste tester

4). Keep It Exciting, Encourage, and Never Punish: Associate trying new foods or cuisines with fun stories and adventures. Encourage your children to at least taste new things but avoid making an issue of it. They are not going to like everything initially, so don’t turn them off by being rigid. By the same token, if you are constantly offering alternatives – why should they try? Try implementing the “one taste” rule. Our taste buds change and expand over time. The point is to open their minds and widen their culinary horizons.

Keep healthier options readily available

Keep healthier options readily available

5). Keep Healthier Options Readily Available: So much of our getting away from healthy eating has to do with time deprivation. Use the Personal Chef Approach to plan and cook ahead, and those healthier options can be just as convenient and fast for them to grab. To maximize your time use the recipe scaler to double recipes, and make curried or pesto chicken salad with leftover lemon garlic chicken, turkey meatloaf sandwiches, or a quinoa salads with any excess vegetables.

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  • March 21, 2015
    9:36 am

    I think that even as an adult we need to challenge ourselves to try new things. It’s so easy to fall into a rut and eat just the same things over and over. The first time I had a Caesar salad, I had heartburn so badly I was up drinking peppermint tea at 1 a.m. I’ve now worked my way up to eating Pad Thai and other such dishes. Mind you, I still have problems with really spicy dishes, but I really don’t like bland foods either. Challenge yourself to make a small batch of something and try it. Given a bit of time, your taste buds will get used to eating more intricate pairings of spices and look forward to them. If your kids see you are willing to try something new, then they will follow suit.

  • March 21, 2015
    1:41 pm

    I recently did a client consultation with a new client, and she was the first client in 15 years that would eat every vegetable on my questionnaire – not coincidentally, her two year old daughter is willing to eat everything too, because she’s been raised with parents that eat healthy.

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