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Picky Eaters: 10 Ways to Help Your Family Eat Healthy

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Picky EatersEating healthy is a common challenge, but one that has great short-term and long-term benefits. There are lots of resources out there to tell you what you should be doing, what foods you should eat, how much you should exercise, etc. It's up to you to make it enjoyable. During a MomItForward Twitter Girls' Night Out a few weeks ago, sponsored by Dr. Praegers, tweeters some unique ways they've found to make it easier.

10 Tips for Helping Your Family Eat Healthy

  1. "Incorporate" veggies into other dishes. Whether you "sneak" them in or not is up to you, but you may want to try these recipes: BBQ Chicken Baked Potatoes with Cauliflower Mash, from @busymomblog (cauliflower is high in vitamin C and has a fair amount of fiber), zucchini in pizza sauce, or Sweet Potato Corn Souffle from @DrPraegers
  2. Use bento to make meals look cute and fun, says @themombuzz. This is a method of preparation that is definitely gaining in popularity and lends itself to healthy foods. Check out this site for some basic info.
  3. Join a produce co-op or find a "pick-your-own" farm near you. @fishmama says: "Just joined a produce co-op and it is providing an abundance of great fruits!" Check out LocalHarvest.org or SustainableTable.org to find a co-op near you, or check out PickYourOwn.org to find a farm.
  4. Snack on greek yogurt. Many of our tweeters extolled its virtues, and @ParenthoodCom suggests mixing it with pureed mango for breakfast.
  5. Snack on hummus, which is high in fiber, low in cholesterol, and generally very tasty. Do so moderately, as it is also relatively high in fat and sodium(1, 2), even if you prepare it at home.
  6. Offer a variety of dipping sauces with healthy food options, that way kids feel they have a say in what they eat, says @themombuzz. @aHealthyHostess says: "Salsa makes a good dipper, so does greek yogurt with cinnamon or taco seasoning mixed in."
  7. Compensate for super-tiredness with "super foods." @CuteMonsterDad says, "As a parent, I'd say sleep deprivation remains the main combatant to staying healthy." Parents need to make sure they get plenty of blueberries, salmon, soy, turkey, yogurt, and walnuts.
  8. Provide new things in your kids' school lunches. @TheScramble provides this post with 30 "out-of-the-box" ideas.
  9. Know the ideal range of caloric intake for your age and lifestyle, and stick to it. Sites like @SparkPeople and ChooseMyPlate.gov can offer help with that.
  10. Make healthy eating a competition with or among your kids. @jylmomIF had her boys save the stickers off fruits and veggies they ate for prizes, and @JoyceHarrellRN  had a game placemat for kids, on which points could be marked each day for the healthy things they'd do and eat,and the kids would get a small prize at the end of 10 days for filling in all the circles.

As @JoyceHarrellRN puts it: "Being healthy starts with making one good choice, after another and another and another." It doesn't have to be hard, nor does it have to be boring.

How do you make sure your family eats healthy? How can you get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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