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Look for ways to involve your children in cooking and preparation. When making your weekly meal plan, ask what they would like to have for dinner and let them help purchase the ingredients. In the kitchen, give them age-appropriate tasks, such as washing, peeling and mixing. The final product will be something they have helped to create. Not only will it increase the likelihood that they will eat the meal; they are also learning essential life skills that can lead to healthier choices in the future.
Make food fun. Fast-food chains and snack products often attract children by marketing their product as fun and exciting. Adding some element of fun to healthy foods can make them more appealing to children. A recent study at Cornell University demonstrated that preschoolers ate more when the vegetables were given imaginative names. These preschoolers ate twice as many carrots when they were labeled as “X-Ray Vision Carrots.” Broccoli trees, magical green beans, and super-strength squash may all become your allies at the dinner table.
Grow a garden together. Getting food today is as easy as a trip to the grocery store or the restaurant down the street. Growing a garden as a family will give children the opportunity to see where food really comes from and how it grows. Taking care of a living thing can also give them a sense of pride and will likely get them excited about eating their vegetables. Green beans and tomatoes may seem more appealing to picky eaters when they have watched them grow.