Healthy Tips for Feeding Young Children

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Carole Carson, dubbed '??An Apostle for Fitness'? by the Wall Street Journal, is the author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction. Just before turning 60, Carole decided to reinvent herself, lost a ton of weight and became a spokesperson for healthy living. I checked in with Carole and told her about GET COOKING month and asked for some tips about feeding a young family.

  1. Keep your food preferences private. Don't be afraid to serve vegetables or fruits you don't like. Your goal is to introduce your child to a variety of food and not pass on your prejudices.
  2. Be sure to involve your child in food preparation. Place your child in a bouncer and later in a high chair where he or she can see you cooking. Including your child helps you accomplish three goals: your child will enjoy the smell of cooking food, you will be reinforcing a culture of appreciating and preparing food and you will be spending quality time together.
  3. Eating family meals together should be the highlight of the day. Children who eat dinner with their parents perform better academically and are less inclined to adopt unhealthy behaviors (drug use, cigarette smoking, etc.). During meals, your child gets to listen, learn and communicate. Babies should be seated next to a parent in a high chair at the table.
  4. Experiment with recipes. Remember that you are training your baby'??s palate. Diversify as much as you can. Look on the Internet for new recipes. Share recipes with other mothers. Use prepared foods only on those infrequent occasions when your refrigerator is empty or when you are just too tired to cook.
  5. Respect the seasons by eating seasonally. Winter meals are more difficult to diversify, so you'??ll need to be creative. Experiment with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. Consider fennel, turnips, spinach and varieties of cabbages.
  6. Respect the child'??s body signals. Do not force your children to finish their plate, especially if they are good eaters. Sometimes a lack of appetite indicates that they are not well, particularly if they don'??t show interest in dessert.

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