“Does hiding veggies in their food help your kids to eat healthy?”

A new book came out this week on teaching kids to eat healthy. Delicious recipes that are guaranteed to help your child eat the foods you wnt them to eat. I can imagine the hordes of moms who are breathing a sigh of relief, rushing to get this cookbook so that they can rest assured that their kids are getting the nutrients that they need.
While this is certainly not a bad thing, I am always interested in what we do when our kids get older, and have more control over what they feed themselves. I want to arm kids with the decision making tools so that they can feed themselves well for their lives. For themselves. Eating habits are not just about nutrition. Eating habits are HOW eat, how quickly; can you wait, do you eat out of boredom, anxiety, control? Control is a big deal for kids and they will use food to control their world if we let them. Eating is the last thing you want to fight about, but it is important to teach them how to take good care of themselves and our job as parents to make sure they are safe and we are doing our part to make them healthy. Maybe for little ones, if we can hide nutritious food, they will eat it and make us feel good about the job we are doing. But it gets more complicated as they grow. Here are some tips to arm yourselves:
1) Teach them about the food groups in ways they can connect and relate to: i.e. the protein, (chicken nugget or whatever they like) helps them concentrate at their games longer, or kick the soccer ball and run faster
2) Help them to know their body and how full and hungry they are; help them to take charge of that; they can feel it on the inside; help them become a BODY EXPERT
3) Help them to know the difference between: “I am hungry”, from ‘I am bored”, (Or tired, anxious, sad)
4) Give them tools to make decisions: “If I eat this treat now, how will I feel when everyone else is having dessert and I have already had my treat?” (If your rule is one treat a day, if it is two, then let them pick the time and stick by the rule if that is what you have set)
Giving our kids healthy eating habits is hard. Eating nutritious food is just one part.

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