“Halloween with Hyland’s”
Avoid the Halloween Health Trap: Tips for Getting your Kids to Eat Healthy Foods from Hyland’s!
The scariest part about Halloween is often not the costumes but the amount of sugary treats that our kids consume. However, by utilizing some simple strategies parents can help their kids eat well not only at Halloween, but all year round.
- Set a good example. If you have good eating habits, your child will learn from your example. That means eating plenty of vegetables, finishing the food on your plate and all the other things you expect your child to do.
- Mealtime is family time. Turn the TV off, avoid distractions and allow mealtime to be a time for the whole family to sit down together and eat. This may be impossible at lunchtime and difficult in the mornings, but try to have at least one meal per day to be a sit-down meal.
- Monitor the TV. If your child watches TV, turn the TV off during commercials to avoid exposure to advertisements for foods high in sugar, hydrogenated oils, etc.
- Do not overload the plate. Your child may get overwhelmed and easily discouraged if you load their plate with too much food. Use a smaller plate and realistic portion sizes. This way you can set them up for success.
- Choose variety. Provide your child with a variety of different foods. Your child may dislike a food one day and then begin liking it the following week. This may make them less picky of an eater.
- Limit snacks. If your child is consistently not hungry at mealtimes, moving snack times or reducing the amount of snacks may help improve your child’s appetite. You can also change the snacks from sugary or processed foods to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Educate your child. Teaching your child the benefits of healthy foods may be interesting to your child and help them understand the importance of making good choices.
- Teach them to cook. Many children love to help cook, so have your child help you in the kitchen. Be sure to make it safe and fun.
- Grow your own. Children enjoy planting seeds and watching them grow. Consider putting in a garden at your home, even if it is in pots. Or visit a garden and explain to your child how the produce grows.
- Go to the zoo. Take your child to the zoo or a farm at feeding time and show your child all the animals that love to eat vegetables and how big and strong they get from eating them. Are any of the animals eating candy or chips?
- Not too much to drink. Avoid letting your child fill up by drinking lots of juice, milk or other beverages before or during meals since they may have no room for their meal.
- Learn tricks. Ask other parents what they do to get their children to eat healthy, and get creative with ideas your child will enjoy. For example, cut fruits, vegetables and other foods into different fun shapes, hide veggies in meals and use dipping sauces.
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Dr. Trevor Holly Cates received her medical degree from the National College of Natural Medicine and was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in California. She is a regular contributor to Hyland’s eNewsletter Health Naturally.