Encouraging Food Variety

Have you ever found yourself pleading, bribing, or begging your child to eat? A new study out of the University of Michigan may have just helped ease some mealtime stress. The study asked two questions: Should parents pressure children to eat, and what are the consequences for kids’ weight and picky eating? Will the child learn they must eat everything, resulting in obesity, or will learning to eat veggies and other healthy foods help her avoid weight gain? The study found that neither happens. Researchers prefer the term choosy or selective when referring to children with specific food preferences and found no link between pressuring and other outcomes.

This doesn't mean it's OK to have candy for dinner or to stop introducing children to new foods altogether. The dietitians at the Council recommend encouraging food variety by introducing new items with an intentional approach:

Five Magic Words to Grow Food Acceptance

Mindful: Serve food in an environment free of distractions so the whole family can concentrate on their internal hunger signals, and each other!

Discover: Talk to children about where food comes from, from farm to table and each stop along the way. If possible, visit a local farmers market or start a garden (or container garden).

Explore: Use the five senses to encourage your child to explore food. Ask, "Is it sweet or sour; rough or smooth; crunchy or quiet?"

Engage: Children are far more likely to try something new if they have had a hand in choosing, preparing, cooking, and plating the meal for themselves.

Model: Model healthy eating habits yourself and children will mirror your efforts.

Farm to Preschool 2018 Schedule | Visit a Farm Stand Today!

MONDAYS 4:00 - 4:45pm

Schenectady Day Nursery

25 Lafayette St, Schenectady

WEDNESDAYS 4:45 - 5:45pm

Albany YMCA

616 Pearl St, Albany

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