How To Promote Balanced, Healthy Eating Habits In Children
One of the most difficult habits to instill in children is nutritious, balanced eating. Typically, once kids are exposed to salty or sweet foods it is easy for them to become hooked.
And since stubbornness is a notoriously common trait in young children, it can oftentimes be hard to get them unhooked from the junk food or open to trying healthier options.
Not exposing your child to healthy food options early on, however, can lead to major health risks later in life, so it’s important to nurture healthy eating habits at a young age. Use the following guidelines to help encourage good nutritional habits and make your child more willing to try healthy options:
It is important to use moderation both in terms of how much junk food you allow your child and how much you don’t allow. Set limits on how many desserts can be consumed on a daily or weekly basis, but avoid banning certain foods entirely.
Banning foods makes it more likely that kids will overeat outside of the house, which can have negative effects on weight and overall health.
Make Meals Fun
Creating fun names for meals or cooking things in creative shapes is a great way to get children to try foods they may not try otherwise.
Letting kids help out with cooking is another wonderful way to get them to eat well—they’ll be much more likely to try healthy foods if they play a part in actually making the dish.
If kids help with a dish, name it after them; “Sarah’s Super Spaghetti” will sound much more appealing to children than “pasta with vegetables.”
Set a Good Example
You can give your child vegetables as often as you like, but if you are not eating them yourself, it is unlikely that your child will either. Lead by example and maintain a healthy balanced diet that your child will be able to witness and hopefully mimic.
Moreover, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities to try healthy foods, whether it’s through stocking your kitchen with healthy snacks or making nutritious meals for dinner.
If your child is initially hesitant when it comes to trying new things, don’t give up. Keep experimenting with different ways to incorporate healthy products into your usual meals. Children’s tastes and attitudes change, and eventually you are likely to come across a healthy ingredient that will stick.
This recipe for Mexican Pizza is a perfect way to ease your child into healthier, more varied eating habits. Having “pizza” in the name is a surefire way to appeal to children and picky eaters, but the vegetables, protein from the beans, and tomatoes make this pizza much healthier than visiting your local pizza joint.
Using whole-wheat pita pockets will add extra fiber to the meal while at the same time reducing your child’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers. Try it out the next time you need a quick and healthy meal – it’s sure to become part of your weeknight rotation.
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 25 min
Servings: 6 (1 pizza each)
Calories per Serving: 301
• 1 10 oz can Ro*-Tel® Mexican Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice & Cilantro, drained and divided
• 1 16 oz can Rosarita® No Fat Traditional Refried Beans
• 6 honey wheat pita pocket breads (6.5 inch)
• 3/4 shredded Mexican cheese blend
• 4-1/2 cups thinly shredded romaine lettuce
• 6 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place 1/4 cup drained tomatoes in a small bowl and set aside. Mix remaining tomatoes and beans in a small bowl until combined. Spread evenly onto pita breads.
2. Sprinkle pizzas evenly with cheese. Place on ungreased baking sheets; bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of breads are lightly browned and cheese melts, rotating pans halfway through.
3. Top with lettuce, onion and reserved tomatoes.
Meredith Kimelblatt writes on behalf of Ro-Tel®. Ro-Tel®l Tomatoes and Diced Green Chilies go beyond queso dips; they are zesty addition to everyday recipes that are sure to help broaden even the pickiest eater’s palate. If you are looking for family-friendly meals and budget-friendly products that will please both kids and adults, visit www.Ro-Tel.com for other Ro-Tel Recipes to spice up your meals or look for Ro-Tel® products in your local grocery store.
Healthy Eating Resources:
- Healthy Eating for Kids – Make proper eating an adventure that children will actively enjoy. Cook healthy meals that are not only nutritious, but which appeal to a child’s palate and sense of fun at the same time.
- Yummy Healthy Tummy: Kids Healthy Eating Guide- Get your children eating healthy food and cut out all the junk. fast, easy and cheap recipes for busy moms.