Helping the Picky Eater
It is normal for children to be picky. After your child's first birthday, his or her growth will slow down and your child will eat less food. As your child's eating habits change don't worry that he or she is not eating enough food. When offered healthy foods, most children do a good job of eating a balanced diet all by themselves. Keep in mind that:
1. Children naturally have wide swings in appetite. It is common for children to eat good one day and then eat almost nothing the next.
2. Younger children have small stomachs and can eat as often as 5 or 6 times a day. Plan healthy snacks as part of the daily meal schedule.
3. Your responsibility as a parent is to provide healthy food for your child. It is your child's job to decide how much he or she needs to eat. If your child is not hungry for a meal, they will have another chance to eat at the next meal or snack.
4. Children often have food jags where they eat only one or two favorite foods. Don't worry, just continue offering your child's favorite foods along with new ones.
5. Don't force your child to eat. Children only eat enough to satisfy their hunger. They will usually stop eating when they are full.
6. Children can be very persistent. Don't give in to preparing special foods just so they will eat. Offer what the family is eating and if they refuse they will have a chance to eat again at the next meal or snack.
Providing Healthy School Lunches
School days are here and kids have an easier time with learning when they eat breakfast and a healthy lunch. Good nutrition is essential for your child to have a great day of learning. School foods aren't always that healthy, but if you send a lunch with your kids, you know they are eating healthy foods. Click here to get some tips for packing healthy school lunches.
Juice Use in Children
Children today are drinking more juice, pop, and other sweetened beverages than necessary. These products taste good, but kids often fill up on them and this decreases their appetite for other healthy foods and drinks. Children then miss out on important vitamins and minerals. Too many liquids can also dull a child's appetite, causing them to eat less at meal time. Increased pop consumption among children is one of the single biggest changes in drinking habits leading to childhood obesity.
• Younger children aged 1 to 6 should only have 4-6 ounces of juice per day.
• Older children should be limited to 8-12 ounces of juice per day.
• Avoid fruit drinks or fruit sodas, since they often have very little fruit in them.
• When you give your child juice make sure it is 100% pasteurized fruit juice, NOT drinks.
• Remember the recommended servings of fruit juice are actually limits. Your child doesn't have to drink any fruit juice especially if he is eating 2-3 servings whole fruit daily. Whole fruit has less sugar, more fiber and trace nutrients not found in fruit juice.
• If your child is a picky eater, has a poorly balanced diet, cavities, diarrhea chronic abdominal pain or is overweight, then you should take steps to limit his intake of juice and other sweetened beverages.
• In general, if your child is eating a well balanced diet, including some fresh fruits and vegetables, is drinking 12-24 ounces of milk everyday, and doesn't have a problem with cavities or being overweight, then he likely isn't drinking too many sweetened beverages.