Friday 7 October 2011

Guest Post: Get Ready For Winter: The Best Winter Food for Children

Winter provides an opportune time to introduce healthy foods into your children’s diets. With shorter days and cold weather, turn meal and snack time into fun, family time. Your children will try new foods and eat nutritious meals after you implement a few creative techniques.

Children enjoy helping to cook. If they assist in the food preparation, they may be more inclined to eat what they helped to make. Allow them to perform age and skill appropriate tasks. Pre-schoolers mix and scoop or cut cooked whole grain noodles and fish with a plastic knife. Older children measure, pour, and stir ingredients for vegetable-rich soups and stews.

Establish a mandatory two bites rule. Serve okra or broccoli with a food your children already likes such as chicken nuggets or applesauce. After two bites of the new food, your children may receive a refill of the food they like.

Introduce nutritious foods at snack time. Create ants on a log with celery sticks spread with peanut butter and covered with raisins. Arrange slices of pineapple, tangerines, or pears into the shape of a face, animal, or house. Avoid serving candy or juice between meals. Your children will feel full and be less likely to eat healthy foods at meal times.

Turn mealtime into game time. Create an imaginary story with your child as the hero who eats all his ham or practice subtraction as your children eat their Brussels sprouts. Prepare a taste test. Allow a younger child to serve the first blindfolded player one food from a variety of choices. Include savoury, sweet, crunchy, and soft foods every family member can try.

Serve colourful plates. Include a combination of green spinach or kale, white cottage cheese, red beets, brown pumpernickel bread, and orange sweet potato or squash at every meal. A few foods such as cauliflower, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes accept dye to change their appearance.

Take your children older shopping for nutritious foods. Compare labels, and choose the healthiest option. Discuss the food’s colour, shape, and nutritional value while shopping for whole grain cereals, sugar free granola, fresh produce, and plain yogurt. Set rules in advance so your children accept your final decision on all food purchases.

Normal children usually reject new foods. Consider altering the food preparation by grilling, steaming, or baking new foods. Add different garnishes such as crumbled cheese, lemon juice, or cinnamon. Finely chop cabbage for inclusion into meatloaf or a casserole.

Winter provides numerous opportunities to introduce nutritious foods to your children. Vegetables, fruit, dairy products, and whole grains energize your family for school and fun all season. Play games and cook together to promote healthy eating at every meal.

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