If you are having a difficult time getting your children to eat healthy foods, you are not alone. There are many parents out there who have kids who are picky eaters and they tend to make mealtimes more difficult.

You might also wonder if your children are getting the nutrition they need for proper growth and development. There is good news. There are several things you can do to get your kids to eat healthy foods.

Your kids once again turned their noses up at your casserole and now you are negotiating macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. As you put your casserole away, you wonder what you can do. River Valley Pediatrics, your pediatric clinic in New Braunfels, offers ways to get your kids to eat healthy.

Lead By Example

Your children are highly influenced by their environment. This includes media, culture and family. The influence parents have over their kids is important. Your attitude about food can lead to healthy or poor eating habits.

As a parent, you should be exposing your kids to a variety of healthy foods and praising them when they make the right food choices. You also want to make sure that others around your children are making healthy food choices.

And if you are eating your fruits and vegetables, it is likely your kids will eat them as well.

Never Force It

Choice is key when developing healthy eating habits. Even if you are exposing your kids to new foods, it is not likely they will like everything you set in front of them. Food should always be presented in a variety of forms with different seasonings. But you should never push picky eaters, you just want to encourage them.

Let Them Help You

Your children will be more likely to give new foods a try if they had a hand in the preparation. This is more than helping set the table, it is having them actually help out in the kitchen.

You don’t need to have them saute the vegetables or pound the chicken breasts, but they can help measure the ingredients and perform other simple tasks. As they perform these tasks, they learn how a meal comes together. It might take longer to prepare a meal with the kids helping out, but the payoff is certainly worth it.

Better Snacks

Snacks are a part of life for both parents and their children. As such, it is important that you keep your snacks as healthy as possible. There are other factors to keep in mind. Remember to keep snack portions small and avoid doling out snacks too close to dinner, it might ruin their appetite.

It is all too easy to shell out cookies or crackers in a baggy to a whiny kid. However, this is not a very good strategy. Instead, your snacks should be rich in protein and fiber. You can try apple slices, whole-grain crackers with cheese, grapes and nuts.

Offer Choices

You don’t like being forced to do something and neither do your kids. You should apply this principle at the dinner table. It might not seem like a big deal to offer the choice between celery with peanut butter or apple slices, but it gives children the autonomy they so crave. It also keeps you in clear control of their nutrition.

Dip It, Dip It Good

If you are having a difficult time getting your kids to eat vegetables, experiment with dips and condiments. Serve ranch dressing, hummus or even a yogurt-based dressing with their carrot sticks.

Have Fun

The more creative the meal is, the greater the chances your kids will eat it. You have already prepared pancakes and have presented them as smiley faces. You can also refer to broccoli as baby trees and use cookie cutters to turn whole-grain toast into stars and hearts.

Adjust Your Attitude

You need to realize that eating popcorn at the movie theater and having ice cream sundaes on Sunday afternoons are all a part of life’s pleasures. You just need to make sure that you balance these good times with smart meals that are nutritious and make sure your children remain active.

Looking for a pediatric clinic that offers great care? Give River Valley Pediatrics a call today.