As a parent, you want what's best for your child right? And you know that you need to give good nutrition to your preschooler right? But, if sitting down to dinner is more of a heated argument than you like, or if you find yourself chasing her around the balcony, you may need to make some adjustments.

Children need nutrients in their food and every meal counts. And I’m pretty sure that you know that nutrients in food not only help enable the body to grow, but also to learn and to develop. There is also a lot of research out there which says that good nutrition can also affect the behavior and mood of a child.

Nutritional Needs Of A Preschooler

There are many nutritional needs a preschooler has. First, realize that a healthy preschooler has an incredible amount of energy. In order to keep up that energy, they need to eat larger meals. In some situation, the energy of that child may top your own. While they do not necessarily need to eat the same amount of food as you do, they do need to eat regularly. Give your child 5 small meals per day instead of just three bigger ones.

Next, consider the types of nutrition your child is getting. Some foods are a better choice for children because they contain larger amounts of nutrients. Encourage your child to eat more of these for a healthier diet. They need to be getting healthy foods including:

•Lean meats
•Chicken and turkey
•Whole wheat breads, pastas and cereal, or others made of whole grains
•Two servings of dairy per day, at least
•Fruits and vegetables: lightly processed

All children require enough fluids daily, too. Water is the best option, with at least four ounces being drunk six to eight times per day, depending on their needs. For other drinks, look for all natural fruit juices or vegetable juices.

The bulk of your child's meals should come in the form of vegetables and fruits, where many of the body's necessary nutrients are stored. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, of all different colors, ensures they are getting high quality vitamins and minerals with each meal. (I know this can be a challenge)

This does not mean that your child can't have any snacks that do not fall on this list. Just make sure that they don’t eat snacks at least 2 hours before their meal time. Or you can choose to introduce healthy snack selections like raisins, whole meal cookies, dried prunes, nuts, cucumber slices, etc.

How To Get A Picky Eater To Eat

You may be wondering how you will get your picky eater to actually eat these types of foods. The good news is that there is help available. There are a variety of things you can do today to see great improvements in even the most fussy of eaters.

One of the most successful and often times the most overlooked way of encouraging good nutrition in a child is to get them involved in the kitchen with you. Have them help you to make breakfast. Get them involved in learning the various types of food. While preschoolers should never use a knife or cook, they can stand by mom and dad and watch, asking questions. Encourage this behavior. A child that is doing something cool with mom or dad is less likely to say their food is bad.

Here are some other tips:

•Allow your child to use cookie cutters to cut fruits, cheeses, and even lean lunchmeat into fun shapes.

•Don't make a big deal out of a mess. Preschoolers are messy, but that's okay. Instead of avoiding a family dinner because of the mess, encourage these meal times together. If they see their daddy, eating broccoli, it will encourage them to do so to, for example.

•Get the bad out of sight. While it is best to just keep the poor health foods out of the home, if you can't do this, put them aside, out of reach and sight. This can be hard if you or your spouse love to eat “junk-food”. I guess you got to start to watch the diet of the family as a whole.

•Choose foods that are better for them. Look for low sugar versions, vegetarian foods or just healthier versions that look the same as what they are eating.

Healthy Meal Options

As you consider a few nutritionally balanced meals for your child, remember to keep all of the food groups in mind.

•Whole grain cereal is a good breakfast to start with, especially with a few apple slices and milk.

•For lunch, choose finger foods like cut up cheese slices in fun shapes, with lunchmeat, crackers and fruit juice. Add on carrot sticks for dipping into their favorite condiment.

•For dinner, try chicken, which many children enjoy, coupled with applesauce, whole grain pasta and tomato sauce.

The key here is to look for foods they like that are also healthy. It will be a bonus to make sure that the meal is easy to be prepared as well.

As a parent, you care about making your child healthy, but you also want to keep them happy. Knowing what is important for nutrition is a good start. Finding ways to encourage good eating habits will encourage even the pickiest of eaters to give new foods a try.

Author's Bio: 

Selvi is a busy working mom of 2 young daughters. For more preschool activities, coloring pages ,party and graduation ideas ,visit Amazing Preschool Activities.