- Make good choices yourself and kids will copy them
Children don’t do what you tell them to do. They do what they see you do. This applies to virtually all areas of life, including foods. If your child sees you eating natural foods and lots of fruits and vegetables, chances are that he or she will want to do the same.
2. Give your kids freedom to choose
Most likely, you love certain foods and are ambivalent or really dislike other foods. The same is true of your kids. Like all people, children want to have some freedom. If they don’t like a certain food, offer them one or two extra choices. It is okay to offer multiple foods within reason.
3. Get your kids involved in planning the meals
Children are much more likely to eat the foods that you offer them if they participate in meal planning and preparation. Start by taking them shopping with you. If, for example, you are buying apples, let your child pick several apples. When it comes to cooking, allow your children to do simple tasks such as retrieving canned goods or mixing prepared foods in the bowls.
4. Be prepared to deal with challenges when school starts
It is often not easy to find a school that offers healthy options for lunch and you should be prepared for that. Lately, many schools all over the country have been spending a lot of time and resources to improve their meals, but many are still not there yet.
5. Take matters into your own hands when it comes to school foods
There are a lot of things you can do to help your child eat healthy while in school. These things include taking a bag lunch from home, getting a cafeteria menu from school and going over it with your child and talking to school personnel and discussing potential solutions with them.
6. Know about school food options
The National Farm to School Program operates in 39 states and over 2,000 schools. The goal of the program is to bring more local fresh produce to schools. Nutrient-based menu planning system is what many schools use to evaluate the nutritional value of meals. Use the Internet to find more information about the program and the system and their availability in your area.
7. Help your child maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is one of the major health issues in the United States today for all segments of the population, including children. Many medical professionals state that today’s children will have many more diseases when they grow up and obesity is the reason for it. While vegetarian children are less likely to get obese that children who eat meat and processed foods, monitor your child’s weight on a regular basis and make sure that the child gets enough physical exercise.
8. Have Plenty of Healthy Foods and Grains in your Pantry
Often older children have more freedom when it comes to their foods and they choose to go for chips and sodas instead of fruits and vegetables. The most important things are to have a junk-free diet yourself and to have plenty of fresh foods and healthy grains at home.
9. Pay attention to allergies
Food allergies are the way for a human body to protect itself from proteins in certain foods. For this reason, some vegetarians can’t eat peanuts or peanut butters, and for others, eggs and milk can cause a lot of issues. The laws in the US require food companies to disclose many recognizable items on the labels, which should make your life easier if your child has certain allergies.
10. Always offer alternatives
Having a variety of foods at home that you can offer to your children is the best way to go because it can be both acceptable to you as a vegetarian and appealing to your children. For example, popping some corn kernels and adding a splash of salt may satisfy your child’s (and your) craving and is much healthier than buying highly processed pre-packaged snacks.