A great resolution your family can make this year is eating healthier. A diet rich in good food gives you energy; make you feel better and keeps you strong. Introducing a variety of foods early will help your child develop into a conscious, good eater who makes healthy choices. Starting your family on the healthy food track is easy; all it takes is that first balanced plate!

Go organic. This is a great first step towards a change in diet. It’s good for you and the environment. Make shopping organic a family event by going to the local farmer’s market. You’ll not only be introducing your child to new food but also supporting your local businesses. Try to keep an open mind while shopping, if your child shows interest in a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had offer to buy one for them to try. Experimentation is key when switching to a healthy diet. Encourage your child’s inquisitive side whenever they want to try a new food.

A good rule of thumb when cooking a meal is that you want a variety of colors on your plate. Different (naturally) colored food offer different things. Think of all the colors you find in a basic salad alone! Another good tip is portioning food out. You want half your plate to be fruits or veggies. You also want the majority of your grains to be whole ones (such as whole-wheat flour and brown rice). The protein at your meal doesn’t have to be chicken. Beans, peas, eggs and nuts are also rich in protein. If the main part of your meal is beans you’ve covered both your protein and your vegetable in one dish!

As any parent knows kids usually don’t like change. The best way to make sure your healthy food resolution doesn’t fly out the door is to introduce food slowly. Don’t serve an entirely strange meal. Switch your sandwich bread from white to whole-wheat or your cheese to a fat free kind. Start serving 1% milk instead of richer kinds. Set an example by how you dish out your plate. Even if your kids are still insisting on the dreaded “all white diet” they’ll slowly learn by example. Don’t make healthy food a punishment and dessert a reward. It can be a difficult balancing act to get your child to change their diet but the rewards will last a lifetime.

How do you get your kids to eat healthy?