Taste Temptations for Tots?
Both my children (ages three and five) are picky eaters. How do I teach them healthy eating habits when they would happily eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Help!
The best way to foster healthy eating habits is by example. Kids learn their attitudes toward food and eating the same way they learn so much else about life -- through the examples we provide as parents.
You can't change your children's habits overnight, but you can begin to introduce tasty and healthy dishes that might appeal to them. If your kids won't eat broccoli, maybe they'll eat stuffed baked potatoes mixed with finely chopped broccoli, soy milk, and cheese (one of the recipes I've included in my new book, " Eating Well for Optimum Health"). You'll find other recipes from the book on this site. Try the fruit "pizza" or the frozen banana pie as a means of introducing healthy desserts. Make my "Marinara Sauce for Pasta," a start-from-scratch recipe that's quick and easy to make and should appeal to the whole family. My daughter Diana, age eight, says that my sauce is what she likes best on pasta.
I decided to interview Diana about her eating habits for my new book. Her half brothers and sisters eat meat, but she does not. She also stopped eating fish some time ago. Here's part of what she wrote:
"I eat healthy because then I don't get sick. I don't like to eat spicy stuff, and I don't like spinach or onions. I do like salad, broccoli, potatoes, rice, and pasta. I'm not crazy about tofu, but it's okay in soup. I like soyburgers. I love fruit and juice. And tomatoes and carrots.
"I did eat meat when I was really little, but one time someone gave me a hot dog and said, 'Here's your pig sandwich.' I never realized meat came from animals until then. When I did, I stopped eating it. I think I'm the only vegetarian in my class. About half of my friends are interested in eating healthy. I don't really know how to teach others about it, but if I knew, I would.
"I'm very happy eating healthy. And, by the way, I like chocolate, some cookies, and a few kinds of lollipops."
Don't offer your kids "health" food. Offer them good food. And get them involved in food preparation from an early age.