Do You Want Your Child to Eat a Rainbow Diet?

Healthy Eating: Diverse Group Children Food Group Baskets High ADoes your child eat only beige foods? Sometimes I will notice my own kid’s meals looking too brown. Chicken nuggets, french fries, chips, etc. I naturally don’t like meals that look so beige, so I will add some color with fruits and vegetables.  I am lucky to have kids that are good eaters, but I did get them started early and had to be creative in getting them to eat their fruits and vegetables.  To get my kids to eat more vegetables, I will usually roast them with olive oil and garlic (broccoli and cauliflower work well with this method). I know this may take some of the nutrition away, but my kids will eat up roasted broccoli on a regular basis. I will usually puree vegetables and add them to baked goods (e.g. roasted carrot bread, zucchini cake, pea pancakes) or steam vegetables. I think in the end it’s all about getting your child used to a certain food so they feel comfortable with it and its taste. For example, I have always steamed my carrots and never baked them. Now, my son will not eat carrots any other way.

If your child has a sensory processing disorder, this can even be more challenging. Many children with sensory processing disorders may not be able to handle the texture, taste or experience related with a specific food. In order to address this issue,  I wanted to share an article that I read from Sensory Focus magazine here about helping your child eat a more varied diet. The article is written by a speech language pathologist and can provide you with excellent tips to try to transition your child off the “beige diet”.  Sensory Focus magazine is designed for parents who have children with sensory processing disorders. For more information about a subscription, click here.

Here are some carryover picture books to help your child eat a more varied diet:

how did that

How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?  by Chris Butterworth is a colorful, educational and engaging book that is ideal for reading during mealtime. This book begins with a child opening up their lunchbox filled with all different foods. The second page reads “Just how DID all of this food get in your lunchbox?” with a picture of all of the child’s lunch items. The book takes you through each item in the lunchbox and describes where each food and drink originate from and how they are made. I love this book because it discusses food groups, a variety of foods, a variety of settings (e.g. farm, dairy, etc), equipment on which food is made, different jobs (farmer, baker, factory worker, etc), answering “wh” questions, and the sequence of events with regard to creating each food item (e.g. bread begins with the farmer and progresses through many steps until finally it gets baked and turns up in your lunchbox!). For the full review, click here.

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eating something redAre you eating something Red? by Ryan Sias is ideal for a younger child learning his or her colors and is discovering all different kinds of food. I originally saw this book during storytime at Barnes and Noble a couple of years ago. The author read the book and my kids totally loved it! I think it’s because Greenie is such a cute and likeable character. The book takes you through what foods are included in many colors of the rainbow. For example the red page says “Look at all of the RED foods. All are good to eat. What RED food would you choose for  taste treat?” The page includes five fruits and vegetables that are red. This engaging and colorful book can be favorite for many kids and makes learning about food fun.

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eat healthy feel greatEat Healthy, Feel Great by William and Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelly (Preschool and up) is an excellent educational book to read during mealtime (or any time of day). It’s a valuable book to have in your library because it can be a great resource to refer back to when trying to teach your children about “healthy eating.” For the full review, click here.

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