'Make it fun' Expert advises on creating healthy eating habits in kids

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Posted at 7:42 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 08:42:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — March is National Nutrition Month, and while we know how hard it can be for adults to eat healthily, try having toddlers or picky pre-teens at home. However, there's hope.

Nutritional Therapist, Dr. Mark Mincolla, has advice on having healthier habits at home for your family.

"Give a lot of options. Don't just get on the same thing all the time. You can have fun with it... make sure it's fun and inspiring," he said.

Mincolla also says you can maybe make funny faces with your fruit. "Banana eyes, blueberry mouth, strawberry nose in your yogurt," he suggested. "Make it a fun thing."

Since so many kids love superheroes, and they tend to represent strength and health, it can be beneficial to use them as examples to promote strong eating habits, Mincolla said.

Lastly, Mincolla says this doesn't mean you can't let them indulge a bit with a pizza night every now and then — just make sure you don't set the wrong example by making it seem like the pizza is fun, and the fruits and vegetables aren't. Remember, be the example!

"Be a role model. Make sure mom and dad eat right. That's the No. 1 key," he said.

Mincolla said this is important because kids want to mimic adults.

Also, "eat the rainbow," advises Dr. Mincolla. Nutrients are all represented by color, and there are nine different families of phytonutrients that are represented by different colors, which is why the Nutritional Therapist advises us all, especially kids, to eat the color of the rainbow.

Mincolla even encourages kids who are able to start reading the ingredients and nutrition labels with you. Have them go grocery shopping with you as you explain things and make it an adventure.