The array of information regarding nutrition for young eaters can leave a parent's head spinning. Books, Internet sites and magazine articles can just make it worse, generating anxiety and more questions. Cooking today is too often about applying rules, struggling with conflict and trying to forgo pleasure in the name of health. Here are a few basic tips for feeding your children.
Choose the foods you like and provide family meals that you find rewarding to plan, cook, serve and eat. Remember, meals don’t have to be glamorous feasts or gourmet cuisines.
Center meals around whole foods, specifically fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy. These will provide your family with the nutrients they need.
Practice the division of responsibility when feeding your children: The parent is responsible for what is consumed, as well as when and where the eating takes place. The child is responsible for how much is consumed and whether it is consumed at all. Don’t force an outcome by restricting food intake or demanding a child eat. Restriction and pressure can lead to resistance to food, sneaking or preoccupation of food.
Parents who lead by example and demonstrate sound nutrition tend to have children that display the same positive eating habits. Prepare healthful meals and enjoy them. Your children will see the pleasure you receive from nourishing your body and they will strive to do the same.