Healthy eating challenge

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 19, 2010


Above: That's me! Cooking chicken noodle soup in my kitchen. Check out the video here:

by Lianne Castelino

Any way you slice it, “it” is a constant challenge in most households. But, as a parent, you cannot relent.

My dad, who along with my mom, are excellent cooks, used to always tell us – being a good cook requires just two elements: interest and ingredients.

The same can be said for instilling a love of healthy eating in children. With equal portions of commitment and organization (interest) along with natural, healthy ingredients, you cannot go wrong.

Children will try to break you down. They may love all things green and leafy one day and the next hour want to have nothing to do with them. We have at least one of our three children that wavers and tests us on eating vegetables but the key is not to give up.

Here are some other helpful tips learned over the years:

1- Take 10 minutes to menu plan before going grocery shopping. (You can even get your kids involved by asking for their suggestions prior to shopping).

2- Make a list prior to entering the grocery store. (Use that week's store flyers to confirm your menu plan)

3- Stick to your grocery list – try not to get side tracked.

4- Make at least 2-3 dishes ahead of time, say on the weekend, to take the pressure off during the week.

5- Pre-cut veggies (that can be used for snacks of a quick salad at dinner) – for example – carrots, celery, cucumber and store in tupperwares.

6- Remember that kids usually love to eat anything that has been cut, neatly arrange and presented to them.

7- Eating together as a family has been proven to increase a child's exposure to and interest in healthy eating.

8- Always offer vegetables – whether they eat them or not. Watching other family members eating vegetables will likely impact the non-vegetable eating family member.

9- Enforce fruit first before dessert (if you serve dessert after dinner)

10- Try as much as possible not to buy processed or frozen foods.

11- Set the example, they will follow.

Many parents get frustrated and withdraw the offer of vegetables or fruit to their kids. This is a mistake. Consistency is key. They can and will likely change their minds over time but need to have that those fruits or vegetables on or near their plate to make that change.

Instilling a love of healthy eating in your family requires commitment, organization and preparation.

It is possible. Don't give it up!

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