Help Your Kids Eat Healthier

Healthy Lunch Ideas:
  Turkey or lean ham on 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  1 teaspoon light mayonnaise
  1 cup salad greens with 1 tablespoon oil and vinegar dressing
  1 fresh apple
  8-ounce chocolate milk box (made from low-fat milk)
        OR
  1 ½ cups lentil soup
  1 cup salad greens with 1 tablespoon salad dressing
  1 fresh pear
  8 ounces skim or 1% milk

Healthy Dinner Ideas
  Pasta and Vegetables:
    ½-1 cup cooked bow tie pasta
    ½-1 cup steamed broccoli, carrots, and zucchini
    ¼ cup of marinara sauce
    1 Tablespoon of parmesan cheese
  8 ounces of skim or 1% milk
        OR
  3-4 ounces of broiled filet of fish (scrod, sole, flounder, salmon)
  ½-1 cup steamed mixed vegetables (peas, green beans, carrots)
  ½ cup cooked wild rice
  1 cup salad greens
  1 tablespoon salad dressing
  8 ounces skim or 1% milk

Let's face it. Without your child's cooperation, you have no hope of making the changes necessary for improved health through better eating. In my experience, I have found children receptive to change when you give them some power. Here are some tips to get your kids interested in following a healthier eating plan:

Discuss with your kids why you are making some healthy changes in the household menu. No child will ever embrace the idea of an apple instead of potato chips for snack unless you start to educate them as to why they need to make that choice.

Allow your child some occasional treats. Once per day, or a few times per week, allow your child to choose a "junk food" for snack. Chronic deprivation will often backfire.

Ask your kids to tell you which foods they want in the house for healthy snacks and for their occasional "junk food" treat. Let your child help you plan what is kept in the kitchen for snack time. Make sure they choose the healthy snacks as well as junk food treats.

Have your kids help you prepare healthy foods. If your child invests time in preparing the meal, he or she will be more likely to pile all that healthy food on his or her dinner plate.

Be patient. Avoid creating any disharmony about the new and improved menu items. Expect to hear some complaints. When kids know the plan and it is a fair plan, they usually come around. Keep your goal in focus: to have your kids embrace these healthier food choices, and smarter ways of eating, for a lifetime.

Kathy Isoldi is currently the coordinator of nutritional services at The Comprehensive Weight Control Program in Manhattan. Ms. Isoldi has been a registered dietitian for 18 years. She began her career as a dietetic intern at The New York Hospital, and was asked to stay on staff at the time of graduation. She received her Masters degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. Ms. Isoldi is also certified in diabetes education.

In addition to counseling patients, she held the position of chief clinical dietitian at The New York Hospital. She currently works with Dr. Louis Aronne, a renowned obesity expert. Ms. Isoldi has been working with Dr. Aronne for the past 12 years, specializing in obesity and diabetes care. She was a contributor to his successful book, Weigh less, Live Longer. She has appeared on various TV shows and been published in many magazines. Ms. Isoldi has helped thousands of patients, in her almost two decades of private and group counseling, to change their eating habits to improve health and delay the onset of illness.

Copyright © Kathy Isoldi. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.