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Processed industrialized food and the fast-food culture require us to be extremely careful when feeding the children. With the ever-present risk of childhood diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, allergies or worse, it is important to teach children healthy food habits that will last them a lifetime. Pleasing the picky eaters with limited palates may be a challenge for a number of parents, but here are 10 suggestions to help navigate the kitchen and teach the importance of wholesome nutrition to the little ones.

  • Cook with raw and organic ingredients. Yes, this means cooking, which can be a challenge for busy schedules or less cooking experience. However, more nutritional value and have more control over what you’re eating is a significant trade-off.
  • Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. If you must do quick meals, get organic ones – at least they will have better ingredients, which are stocked in most grocery stores.
  • More vegetables. This may be tough for picky eaters, but there are lots of sneaky methods to include vegetables in a child’s diet. Our favorite is to blend them up and put them in with a sauce or soup. Instantly, they’re invisible, and the kids don’t think twice about eating them.
  • Choose the meat wisely. It is of vital importance of choose the proper type of lean protein that is free of hormones, antibiotics, and toxins.
  • Don’t keep junk food in the house. If it’s in the house, the kids will find it and eat it.
  • Pack healthy snacks. When you’re out and your child is suddenly hungry, you will be equipped rather than having to turn to junk- or fast-food. There are many good organic and healthy snacks to choose from these days, like snack bars, apple sauce, cheese, crackers and little squeeze-bottle baby foods.
  • Eat out less. The trouble with eating in a restaurant is you have no control over the food, and even great restaurants cut costs by using the cheapest ingredients possible.
  • Drink water. Sweetened drinks and soda lead to major health issues and obesity in children. Kids also need far less milk than American “official” sources say (milk is especially important to choose organic and not overly pasteurized).
  • Less GMOs. Part of the advantage of buying organic foods is they usually aren’t genetically modified organisms (GMO). There are many negative consequences of our kids eating GMO foods, like developing allergies, resistance to antibiotics, and negatively influencing sexual development. Steer clear of them as much as possible.
  • Create little sous-chefs. Engaging the kids in choosing, preparing, and cooking the food will increase the interest in their nutrition and will open their minds to what they are eating.
  • Have family meals. Make an event out of meal-times instead of rushing through them or eating them at different times. This will develop a healthy ritual and perspective around meal times.
Be happy & healthy, Dr. Tijana
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