American health advocate Ann Wigmore offers food for thought: "The food you eat can either be the fastest and most effective kind of medicine or the slowest form of poison." For this reason, as a new parent, you must ensure that your children are eating the proper, healthy, and secure foods. It won't be tough for us to feed our babies from newborn to infant stage because they haven't learned how to refuse. The parents' only challenge is deciding on the best milk and cereals for their children. Once they reach the toddler stage, they will be more open to some soft foods little by little until they reach preschool and school age, where they can be exposed to more choices like solid foods.

Compared to feeding a sick person in the hospital, feeding a baby is more complicated. If a sick person has no appetite or keeps throwing up what they've eaten, they should seek medical attention. It is much more difficult when a healthy baby chooses some junk food over nourishing meals. To encourage our children to consume healthy foods, I have compiled several suggestions after speaking with friends who have children between the ages of 3 and 5.

Healthy Kids

The first is to lead by example. At their current stage, preschoolers are greatly influenced by their environment—not just by their family but also by their culture and the media—especially those kids who spend most of their time with their gadgets. This is where parental influence will come in. We need to pick the right app and the videos they are watching to ensure they will have a healthy life. That is for their virtual lives. In real life, we must also expose them to a variety of healthy foods, give them compliments when they opt for healthy foods, and parents must ensure that all people surrounding the children are eating nutritiously as well to serve as role models.

Speaking of "variety," it is essential that our kids have plenty of options to choose from. They are quickly bored with things, especially with foods that they have seen from time to time. Also, it will give them some independence, making them feel that they are not being forced to do something against their will. Making them feel involved allows them to have their say, so they will be more confident and feel heard. With this, it will somehow lessen the challenge for parents to feed their kids. Aside from choices, another parent I have interviewed suggests that parents must let their kids make their plates. Letting your children take self-control of their plate is one more way to let them exercise their independence and get them attracted to trying new food. It may take a few tries, but most kids will be more inclined to add wholesome foods to their plates if they have the autonomy to choose.

Once the parents have established that their children have their plates and are free to choose from various options, it is time for the parents to offer some getaway foods. They are combining some healthy foods with the foods they already like, and they are curious and suspicious of new things. Exposing them to fresh foods far from the chips, cakes, chocolates, and candies they are used to will prevent them from being picky eaters as they grow old. It is just a matter of creativity for parents. If the kids are reluctant to eat carrots and potatoes, mix them with their hotdogs for Menudo.

Another parent suggests that her way of getting her kids to eat healthy foods is to include them while cooking. Aside from the fact that it can be their mother-and-child bonding, it is also the best way to give her kids a behind-the-scenes look at her food. They are more likely to try a new food if they have contributed to making it. It may take extra time for the parents to prepare the food as they have to discuss it step-by-step and demonstrate it more straightforwardly. Still, it will be worth it over the long run as they are also already exposing their kids to the health benefits of the foods and household chores.

Lastly, one parent advised that the most important thing is not to force the kids. As explained earlier, choice is crucial in promoting a healthy diet. Parents should not be short-tempered with their kids being picky eaters. We all started as children. Instead, we should make them feel loved and supported, so they will do what is best for them, not out of fear but out of willingness.