Jessica Carter is a registered and licensed dietitian and the founder and president of Core Health & Nutrition, LLC. Jessica earned a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Eastern Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bemidji State University.
How do I get them to eat better?
As a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist in the Bemidji area, I know that getting kids to eat right is no picnic in the park. It can downright feel impossible with all of our busy schedules. I am here to tell you that with a little planning and few small changes, it doesn’t have to be the battle it was before.
Not only do I have experience working with numerous children in a professional setting, but I, too, have children of my own. I also know a thing or two about being busy. My husband and I both own businesses that keep us running not only during the workweek but on weekends and evenings as well.
I will tell you, my children are like any other kids, they don’t prefer broccoli over chocolate. They would eat macaroni and cheese every meal of every day if we let them and even though they know they won’t get it, they still ask for candy every trip to the grocery store.
So how do I, as a nutrition expert, get my kids to eat right? Easy. I use the same tools and techniques that I teach my clients.
First, I never forget to listen to my kids. I talk to them about food at dinner. I ask what they ate when they stayed somewhere else and basically I try to learn what they like and dislike.
I also strongly encourage them to try new foods. I never use food as a reward. Instead, we offer family activities as incentive such as maybe a bike ride or an evening walk to the river.
I also offer choices at dinner. If one child wants broccoli and the other wants carrots, well then I just make both. I’m not suggesting separate meals for each person (We don’t have time for that.) but having more choices is OK.
I try to work healthy food into their favorite dishes such as a can of black beans thrown in with the baked beans, or extra veggies into that much-loved casserole.
I don’t have unrealistic expectations of what they will eat either. As much as I might want them to eat artichokes with a side of cabbage, I realize they are probably going to want something else, so I work with them. I let them help with grocery shopping. We talk about healthy foods at the table. They even help with meal preparation at times.
Above all, I am consistent. If I say no to something then I stick with that no matter how much begging follows.
Here are some ideas for you to try this school year:
For more tips, Jessica can be reached at (218) 556-9089 or Jessica@corehealthbemidji.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or visit her website at www.corehealthbemidji.com.
Jessica was featured in the Fall 2015 issue of inMagazine.