As parents, we want the best — and only the best — for our children. Of course, we also want our children to be happy, and few things light up a kid’s face faster than a giant bag of Halloween candy, soda pop, and basically anything containing delicious, tooth-destroying sugars. And as our children grow up, it only gets harder to make sure they get the essential nutrition they need for proper growth and development.
Not only that, but as kids learn independence, every night can feel like you’re fighting the War for the Dinner Table. That’s why we’ve created an all-encompassing guide for parents of picky eaters everywhere that’s easy to follow and contains all the key information required to provide the best nutrition for your children at any age.
Whether you’re dealing with picky eaters toddler tantrums, supertasters, surly teens, or kids with texture problems, there are a few simple strategies for teaching kids to eat healthy every day. In fact, this entire approach can be simplified into a three-step plan:
- Start Outside the Kitchen
- Prepare Inside the Kitchen
- Teach at the Table
Remember: the key to providing the proper nutrition for your child is balance. While the food pyramid model is considered to be obsolete, it’s critical for your child to receive a healthy balance of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy. Keep in mind that these amounts are highly dependent on your child’s activity level, sex, and growth rate.
Kitty Wicks, LCSW, is the owner of StartingBlock Fitness, a blended psychotherapy and fitness practice in Arlington, VA. Over the course of her 20-year career, Kitty has worked with many parents whose children struggle with food issues. Her advice:
“Not defining foods as ‘all bad’ or ‘all good’, but rather encouraging moderation and healthy choices. Keeping a house full of healthy snack options for when children are hungry. Helping the child get in tune with feeling ‘full’ or ‘hungry’. Our children imitate our eating habits, so the most important thing you can do is to role model balanced, healthy eating for your child,” says Kitty.
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