Preschoolers aren’t always known for their agreeable eating habits. Picky eating is common with this age group, with vegetables often being a tough sell. A little creativity in the kitchen can help make healthy eating easier for your preschooler. Starting him out early on a healthy diet increases the chances of a healthier diet down the road.
Get Them in the Kitchen
Cooking with your preschooler might encourage her to try the healthy foods she creates. The ownership in the meal makes it more appealing to many young children. Cooking also gives your child a chance to explore food and ingredient combinations. Plan for extra meal prep time when your preschooler helps in the kitchen. You’ll also need to set safety rules before your child works in the kitchen. These rules include not touching appliances, staying away from the stove, and never handling knives or other sharp utensils. Make sure your child understands she needs to wait for instructions from you.
A plate of fresh vegetables at snack time is nutritious but lacks appeal to many preschoolers. A creative, child-friendly presentation makes healthy food more interesting for the preschool age group. Add a scoop of hummus or nut butter as glue for the vegetable pieces. Let your child build something out of the vegetables as he snacks on them. Cookie cutters are a simple way to make food appealing. Cut sandwiches, cheese, fruit and other healthy foods with the cookie cutters to make them interesting shapes.
The same old fruits and vegetables every day get boring for all members of the family. Experimenting with different foods makes meal and snack time more exciting, especially if you have an adventurous preschooler who likes to try new things. Browse the produce section in search of a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried. Replace your usual grains with quinoa or barley. Instead of flavored yogurt cups, pick up a carton of plain yogurt and add in your own flavorings.
Talk About It
Preschoolers are at a prime age for starting conversations about healthy eating. Let your child know why fruits and vegetables make him healthier. As you cruise the grocery store aisles, point out different options and why some options are healthier than others. The cereal aisle is a good location for this discussion. Help your preschooler figure out why a sugary cereal isn’t as healthy as a whole-grain cereal with less sugar. Turn it into a game by challenging your preschooler to spot healthy foods at the store.