Tips on how to get your kids to eat healthy foods
One of the most important roles as a parent is caring for the health of our children. This includes helping them to make healthy choices when it comes to food. For kids, unhealthy snacks are in abundance around them – whether it be on the playground, at birthday parties, or at school. Here’s how to encourage healthy eating with your youngins and get them to eat – and enjoy – healthy foods.
It’s unrealistic to think that our kiddos will turn into kombucha, veggie-loving robots over night. To start, put a bit of each food you cooked on your child’s plate. This could be a bit of cooked carrots, spinach, and a bite of chicken. (Hint: to make it more fun, be sure to add color! The more visually appealing the foods, the more likely they are to be willing to try them). Let your child know that they can have more of any of the given foods once they finish what is in front of them. This will motivate them to try new foods without getting overwhelmed by the amount.
If it’s hard getting your children to eat vegetables, introduce some yummy dips into the equation. Try carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. with hummus, salsa, or ranch. The strong flavors of the dip will help ease them into the idea of eating veggies.
Teach by example
Children are more likely to pick up on the behavior they observe as opposed to the behavior they are told to follow. If they see you regularly eating fruits and veggies – and enjoying them – they’ll have a good preconceived opinion about these foods.
Let them make choices, but make sure they’re healthy ones
Your kids will be less inclined to eat healthy foods if they feel as though it is being forced on them. Instead, let them feel like it is their choice to eat healthy. Usually, the first thing kids do when they get home from school is reach in the fridge or pantry. Ensuring that their only options are healthy (fruit, nuts, carrots and hummus, etc.) will get them used to eating clean foods. Don’t stock the cupboard with chips and cookies and question why they crave bad foods!
Serve balanced breakfasts and dinners
Remember that a good breakfast and dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be balanced. What this means is it should include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. Getting your kids to eat healthy means getting them to eat the right things.
Get your kids involved in the kitchen
Your kids will be more interested in eating the foods they’ve helped to create, so get the involved in the preparation! Depending on their age, you can get them involved in many ways. Start by taking them to the market and having them help you bag the produce. Allow their assistance to carry over to home where they can help chop, mix, and make the final product.
Explain the importance of healthy eating
Explain to your kids what healthy food is and why it is important that we eat foods that are good for us. Make it as relatable to them as you can. Tell them eating healthy keeps our bones strong so that we can be better at sports. Among other things, it also helps us grow. Tell them it keeps us from getting sick when we are exposed to new germs, most notably in the public spaces they enjoy (on the playground, at parks, at the movies, at theme parks, etc.). Kids’ brains are like sponges so they’ll retain the information you relay to them as long as you keep it interesting.