The average person has about 10,000 taste buds, which are replaced about every two weeks. As a person ages, some of those taste buds are lost. In fact, an older person may have only 5,000 working taste buds. So, keep this in mind when introducing new items to your kids. What may be a mellow flavor to you, may taste differently to your child. As they age, reintroduce healthy items that may not have been a favorite in the past.
Here are some tips to teach your child healthy eating habits:
- Lead by example. Always have healthy foods available.
- Don’t bring less-than-ideal foods into the home. Your kids can’t eat junk food if you don’t stock your pantry with it.
- Prep fruits and veggies. Wash all fruits and vegetables so they’re ready to eat when desired. Other great snacks include low-fat cheese sticks and yogurt.
- Search recipes together. Take kids shopping and teach them to choose foods not only for taste, but for nutritional value.
- Kids love to cook—let them help. Ask for their input when planning meals. Use the MyPlate food portion template at choosemyplate.gov as a guide for a well-balanced diet.
- Visit a salad bar and take turns adding items. Discuss the health benefits of foods and how it relates to them and their daily activities. For example, protein builds muscle, carrots support vision and dairy helps build strong bones. Challenge your kids to go online to learn more about the foods they eat.
- Grow a garden. You can either do this at home or, if your school system offers a program, get your child involved in the garden club or greenhouse efforts.
Learn more about eating healthy by participating in a one-on-one nutritional counseling program at Riverview Health.