Best Eating Habits: The Top 10 List for 2010
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5. Try, try again with veggies. We're biologically programmed to avoid bitter tastes because it used to warn us about harmful substances. Unfortunately, a lot of vegetables have a bitter element to them, even though we know they aren't poisonous. That means kids might not like veggies right away, but keep offering them, and kids will develop a familiarity and maybe even a preference for them.
4. Let kids help in the kitchen. Kids are more likely to get excited about what's on the table if they've had a part in creating it. You might be surprised how eager they are to try a pureed tofu and chives veggie dip if they're the ones who mixed it.
3. Say no to "kids' food." Children aren't born instinctively wanting chicken fingers or French fries. They learn food habits, so it is possible to steer clear of typical kids' menu items. Remember that the healthful foods you provide are what "kids' food" should be.
2. Offer diversity. Create meals with a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Exposing kids early on to a range of healthy foods promotes acceptance and helps develop a savvy palate.
1. Be a hero! Your kids look up to you and will imitate your healthy habits. That's a great reason for the whole family to eat right, together.
For additional guidance, seek out a local pediatric nutritionist in New York City through the Greater New York Dietetic Association at www.GNYDA.org.
Maggie Moon, MS, RD is a freelance nutrition writer and registered dietitian based in New York City, and is Corporate Nutritionist for NYC grocer, FreshDirect.