There are many ways to encourage kids to get interested in foods that are good for them.
— Make lots of new foods available to your children, but always offer new foods along with something you know your child will eat.
— Make foods interesting. Focus on colours — try to eat a whole rainbow in one day or have a featured food colour for a day. Cut familiar foods into different shapes and thicknesses. Use lots of dips (kids love to dip). Thread foods on skewers or eat with a toothpick. Have the kids create pictures or patterns on a plate with different colours and shapes of food.
— Make smoothies out of a variety of fruits and veggies and let kids help to create their own.
— Provide an opportunity for kids to grow food from scratch, either in a small garden plot or container.
— Take kids to pick-your-own farms so they can gather their own food.
— Take kids grocery shopping. Give them a task of looking for three fruits or vegetables in one colour, for example.
— One of the best ways to get kids involved with food is to let them help prepare it. Even toddlers can dump something into a bowl, stir, peel a banana or tear salad greens. Older children can measure, grate cheese, crack eggs, combine ingredients and so on.
— Try "deconstructed" or "do-it yourself" meals such as make-your-own wraps or tacos or offer a choice of toppings for pasta, baked potatoes or individual pizzas.
Source: Janet Nezon, www.rainbowplate.com.