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Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthier

By Randi Morse

I'm a fairly selective eater; there are not many vegetables that I enjoy eating on a regular basis. One of my two children is a selective eater as well. It can be extremely frustrating as a parent to try to get your children to eat healthy things, especially since it is so easy to access unhealthy items. Far too often I've seen parents simply give up on trying to encourage their children to make healthy choices, stating that they don't think they can win the vegetable battle. The good news is that there are a number of tricks that you can use to help encourage your children to eat their veggies.

Butter

Did you know that there is actually a very valid reason that children don't like a lot of vegetables? That's because many vegetables have a distinct bitter flavor to them, and our brains believe that bitter flavor equals a potentially toxic item. In the wild, toxic plants usually taste bitter, so the human brain sometimes associates bitter with toxicity, this is especially true for children who are more likely to act on emotion than intelligence. To battle back the bitter, add some butter! Butter can add good fat to your child's diet while also encouraging them to eat vegetables. Once they like the vegetable you can slowly decrease the amount of butter you use to make their veggie eating even healthier.

Dip

Kids absolutely love playing with their food, and you can allow them to engage in food play, while also encouraging them to eat their veggies, by using dips! Ranch dressing is, hands down, most children's favorite dip. You can either purchase ranch dressing or use one of the many recipes online to make your own. Allow your children to have ranch dressing at the table but explain that they can only use it if they dip their vegetables in it. It will surprise you how quickly they're willing to eat veggies if they're allowed to dip.

Choice

Think about how little children are allowed to choose. They're told when to go to bed, when to wake up, when to eat, when to play ... children have very little control. Allow them some choice when it comes to vegetables! Take them grocery shopping with you and ask them to pick out the veggies that they like. At dinner time, give them the choice between two vegetables, for example broccoli and carrots, and see which veggie they choose. They might even choose to eat both!

Above all else, don't fight with your children about dinner. Dinner should be a time when the family is able to sit down and enjoy spending time together. By making dinner, and vegetables, fun, you can help your children learn to make healthy eating choices.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bothell, Wash.

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