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Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Post: Eating Adventurously

Hi everyone. Yes, I am still here. March is a hectic month for me. I'm trying to get back on track, but it's happening slowly. Below is a guest post written by Lauren Bailey. She offers some tips to get your child to eat "adventurously."

4 Tips for Encouraging your Toddler to Eat Adventurously
The title of this post could have easily been something to the effect of "tips for making your toddler eat her vegetables." And this is part of what this post will discuss. But the reason I prefer to go with the phrase "eat adventurously" is that getting your young charge to eat the right foods is all about how you present the idea of eating right. If you make it into a battle, one in which you force your child to eat her Brussels sprouts, then it will always be a battle. Soon it will be a battle you will tire of waging. On the other hand, if you teach your child early on the pleasures of food, not just the "because-I-said-so's" of food, then you'll see how much more open to new culinary experiences she'll be, both now and in the future. Here are some tips.
1. Don't insist on having your child finish everything.
This may be a hard-wired rule engrained in us by our parents, and their parents before them, but when you insist that your child finish everything on her plate, you invite them to feel resentful about food, and you also encourage overeating in the future. Instead of insisting on eating everything, insist on having, at the very least, two or three bites of everything.
<!- 2. Present troublesome foods in interesting ways on the plate.
Sometimes, it's not necessarily the taste of healthy foods that young children object to. Rather, it's the dull or weird way they look. Consider different ways of presenting the food so that it becomes more appealing. For example, arrange peas and carrots into a little smiley face, or think about preparing particularly colorful or interestingly shaped foods like bell peppers, star fruit, etc.
<!-3. Don't let your child become accustomed to "kid's foods."
"Kid's foods," like chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese, have mostly become kids foods through tradition, and not necessarily because they are specially liked by kids. Whenever you go out to a restaurant, eschew the kids menu and order your child smaller portions of adult foods, so that they can get used to the flavors of real foods early on.
<!-4. Always emphasize taste, even over nutrition.
Parents usually operate under the assumption that if you explain to your child the health benefits of food, they'll want to eat it more. Saying things like "X will make you grow taller" or "Z will make your eyes see better," is really not all that interesting to a small child. They usually have only a very rudimentary concept of health, so health will certainly not motivate them. Instead of emphasizing nutrition, talk to your child about different tastes inherent in food and why they should be appreciated. Raise them to truly enjoy the freshness of fruits and vegetables, and the complex flavors of foods cooked in different ways. They'll be way more receptive than you think.
Although it may seem a bit over-the-top to try cultivating in your child a mature palate, you'll see that teaching this early will help them develop a healthier relationship with food overall, one in which enjoyment and moderation are at the center of the table.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99

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