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Growing healthy kids: Part 1, nutrition

Raising children is a feat in itself. Every parent will tell you that children should come with an instruction booklet. However, that is not the case and so we have to rely on advice from family, friends and others (online community) as well as just go with the flow. With that being said, trying to raise healthy kids can be quite the challenge.

For many, eating healthy depends on convenience and resources but it doesn't have to be. There are ways we can raise our children to eat healthy. Many local supermarkets are offering more fresh produce to urban areas (at a reasonable price). With the push from the government via the Let's Move campaign, it has become easier to access fruits and vegetables. So much so, that even schools and community organizations have gotten into creating gardens in local urban areas (wonderful!). First Lady Michelle Obama's book, American Grown, has also provided much inspiration and discussion for parents looking for healthier options to put on the dinner table. Not only that, but there is a wealth of information on the internet that can accommodate one who is looking to change their lifestyle. Nonetheless, trying to get children to eat healthy is akin to trying to scale a volcano. More so if you have a picky eater.

So exactly how do you go about getting your child to eat healthy? There are lots of fun ways to start the ball rolling. Begin by getting inspiration from the abbreviated list below and then check out the suggested list of resource websites and you'll be on your way.

Tips to get your child to eat healthy:

1) Get creative. You may need to become quite inventive when including veggies on your child's plate. Try mixing the veggie with something they like (i.e. green beans with applesauce). Yes, it may sound gross but you wouldn't believe how much more likely they are to take a few bites out of that then the beans on their own. Another thing you can try is smoothies. If your child likes yogurt, or the such, try making your own smoothies with fruit and one veggie. Now you will have to be crafty in making sure the color and taste is still appealing. Try some of these smoothie recipes.

2) Try the bite method. One way to get kids to start trying foods is to encourage them to take bites (i.e. "Take two bites and then you'll get desert."), this is much more manageable for them than the "Eat all your vegetables before desert." mantra. Here they are eased into trying something new. You will have to be consistent though, because some children are very strong-willed.

3) Start a garden. Involving kids in the growing process can definitely open their eyes to trying different vegetables. The same thing with involving them in cooking. Knowing they had a hand in creating something may gear them up for eating it.

4) Try a food shopping challenge. Again involving children in the process can be quite successful. How about taking your child along when food shopping? Now I know some of us shy away from that but actually lots of learning can come from it. Why not prep them by giving them a task? Before heading to the store tell them that they will play a game. Older kids can find fruits and veggies that start with a letter that they can try for dinner that night. Younger children can search by color. Or go immediately to the produce section and see how many fruits/vegetables they can name on sight.

All in all, it probably won't be an easy road but with consistency you will find your child's willingness to try new things increase. Eat well, be healthy!

Websites to look into for healthy eating:

Eat Healthy

Eating Well

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