I’d like to share a secret with you… I haven’t always been a healthy eater. Not even close. In fact, I think there was a substantial period of time around the age of 5 that I lived solely on chopped-up hotdogs and parmesan cheese. (I know, it’s gross! Not to mention rather embarrassing as a nutritionist, so let’s just keep that between you and me…)
The big turning point for me was when I started to become part of the preparation process of the foods that our family ate when I was a kid. Although it seems silly now, I remember being scared of trying new foods. All of a sudden, there would be a strange vegetable on my plate. It looked weird, smelled funny and the idea of letting it touch my tongue was absolutely terrifying! A lot of the pickiness that children experience comes from this type of fear. If you involve them in the process of picking out foods and cooking them, that fear often vanishes.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, encourage your kids to pick out a new healthy food from the shelves to try. Including them in the preparation process will help to excite them about the new food and help them feel like an important, decision-making member of the family. Before they know it, they’ll be eating something new and expanding their palate!
Another way of introducing new foods to children is to start incorporating them into meals they already enjoy. Try substituting ground turkey for ground beef on taco night. They probably won’t even notice the difference!
Also, kids seem to gravitate toward sweeter foods, so why not begin introducing foods that are naturally sweet into their meals? Check out the Salada’s Green Tea Fruit Twist Smoothie recipe. Sweetened with a little honey, it’s an easy way to help ensure they are getting much needed fruits while enjoying something delicious. You can even freeze the smoothies as ice pops and use them as an after school snack or dessert.
But, let’s be honest, it’s not always the kids that are the pickiest eaters in the family. Sometimes the adults are the real culprits! Healthy eating is a family affair. Even a small change like substituting iced Salada Classic Lemon Green Tea for a sugary soda can be a step in the right direction.
And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.