Others may not be aware of the healthiest ingredients and cooking methods, and can rely on high fat foods or starchy foods when choosing meals. Together with the picky eating habits, which seem to be so common among children, it’s no wonder that children generally do not eat as well as they should.
What are some of the habits?
Young children often have a number of foods that refuse to eat. Children may be choosey not just about how food tastes but also the temperature and texture. And trying to get children to eat their veggies can be an exercise in perseverance.
Most children prefer foods that are tasty and high in calories, and they tend to be foods that are cheap, widely available and often easier to eat. Older children are often on the run, which can mean many convenient items and fast food, as well as irregular mealtimes as well. Sometimes a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning can be more attractive than a healthy breakfast before school.
But what can Parents do?
Children are more inclined to eat healthy foods when they are offered them frequently and regularly. Repeated exposure to vegetables, for example, is one way to encourage family members to try new foods. But it also helps to make food available and accessible. Try to keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table or counter, or put fresh cut-up vegetables in the fridge.
Another approach to increase the intake of vegetables is by adding them to similar dishes. Cooked, pureed vegetables can be added to pasta sauce, for example, improved nutrition and calories to reduce the calorie intake of the dish. You can also add cooked vegetables to soups, stews and casseroles adding nutrition and improving taste.
Proper snacking is good for growing children, and well-chosen snacks can help meet nutritional needs. But if snacking means having salty or sugary empty calories items, try offering fruit, vegetables, nuts or soy nuts, yogurt or low-fat yogurt instead.
Despite the best efforts of parents, infants can still fall short of a number of important nutrients. A good quality daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement can help fill gaps in the diet and can serve as a safety net.