Getting your kids to eat healthy

Local News

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — If you’re struggling to get your kids to eat healthier, the UI might be able to help. 

A new study shows the mood of your mealtime could affect your kids’ choices. If your kids are enjoying themselves while they eat, they’ll have more positive thoughts about what they’re eating.

A researcher, Jaclyn Saltzman, videotaped 75 families at meal time, counting positive and negative expressions in kids. She said the happier the kids were, the more likely they were to eat the food their parents wanted.

One Champaign mom has her own methods of making this theory work. She says dinnertime can be stressful with seven mouths to feed, but she has what she calls “toddler tools” which help make her kids interested.

“So what they do is, when I’m chopping fresh fruits and vegetables, they’ll do it with me and then they will eat it while they’re doing it. So that gets the ball rolling and sets the stage for eating those foods, and then they’re willing to try them,” says Rebekah Bambenek.

Saltzman says this method works perfectly. It’s all about quality over quantity with kids. The younger you can do all of this, the easier it is for them to remain healthy through out their lives.

They’ve only practiced this study with mothers, but they plan on continuing their research and will also be looking at how fathers impact healthy eating with kids. 

Saltzman says it’s normal if kids don’t like some food. Encouraging them to take one bite and move on may help. It’s important not to force the issue.

For more information, click here.  

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