Health and nutrition with young children

Effectively manage your time and your child’s eating.

There can be positive and proven ways for reaching good food habits with children. Michigan State University Extension suggests the following:

  • Keep meals simple. Cook simple meals that are tasty and nutritious. We want to spend more quality time with our children, not slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen.
  • Cook more when you have the time, like weekends. You can cook soups, stews or casseroles to freeze for another time. You can also double or triple the recipe and have leftovers. Leftovers make great easy lunches to take to work or school.
  • Try doing some of the task ahead of time, like preparing the vegetables or meat in the morning when you may have more time. A good example of this would be preparing the vegetables/meat for tacos ahead of time, than in the evening all you have to do is pull out the vegetables from the refrigerator and heat up the meat. Depending on their age, let your children help prepare some of the food as often as possible. Children like to take ownership and will most likely eat better.
  • Cook once for everyone. For example, if your child does not like a certain sauce, than cook some of the meal without it or a certain vegetable in a stew, then put some aside without that vegetable.
  • Make “no-cook” meals like sandwiches or salads. Also try breakfast for dinner.

Always try to get your children to help as much as possible. Have them help set the table, pour drinks, or other tasks that they are capable of. This will build their self-confidence to be able to help more as they grow.

For more information read the Nibbles for Health newsletters.

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