1. Watch out for foods that pollute the body such as those high in refined sugars, sodium, and hydrogenated fat. Keep these out of your child’s diet as much as possible.
2. Good nutrition can biochemically program the body to crave only nutritious food. And, of course, the same can be said for the polluting foods where kids will crave junk food if they eat a lot of junk food.
3. Young kids do well with grazing or lots of mini-meals throughout the day. They eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Offer a selection of nutritious whole foods for them to choose from.
4. Try to stock your shelves with foods that are rich in nutrients rather than offering them food full of empty calories. Avocados, broccoli, cheese, slices of hard boiled eggs, chunks of fish, pasta, organic peanut butter, blueberries, strawberries, papaya, sweet potato, pieces of cooked chicken, whole grain breads and crackers, plain yogurt, celery or other veggies sticks, and fruit slices are high in minerals and vitamins.
5. Avoid getting your kids to eat healthy food by bribing with junk food. This puts an emotional value on ‘treats’ which teaches kids to feed their emotions.
6. Avoid eating in front of the TV. This should be a non-negotiable rule for everyone in the family. Mindless eating disconnects us from the food on our plate and may cause overeating and poor digestion.
7. Do not invite power struggles by making your child eat everything on their plate. Offer up reasonable food selections and let the child choose what to eat.
8. Don’t give your child undue attention for not eating. Respect their choices.
9. Avoid making special meals for each child. It’s disrespectful to you and allows the child to manipulate and control.
10. Take your kids shopping with you and play games that teach your child how to make healthy choices.
11. Consider making nutrient dense food by using some of the new cookbooks for parents that hide vegetables in recipes. Adding foods such as zucchini and carrots in pasta sauce, avocado in chocolate pudding, pumpkin, apple and banana in muffins and cakes, makes these food much more substantial and healthy. Do not be sneaky about it, though. If the child asks, it is important to be honest about how you are preparing the food. This creates a bond of trust.
12. Encourage family fitness. Children can learn that a healthy body is not limited to healthy foods alone. Children who exercise are more fit and will live healthier and longer lives.