Do you ever feel like your kids aren’t eating well? They aren’t getting enough fruits and veggies, they drink too many sugary drinks, they eat too much junk, or whatever it may be for the day.
Well don’t panic and don’t feel guilty. There are so many things in our culture today to worry about, so today, I hope I can help you relax a little and give you some positive ways to help get your kids to eat a little healthier. Each of these things will differ depending on the age of your child. Of course, if your child is very young, you can’t always have a logical conversation to help them understand why it’s important to eat healthy foods.
My kids are all teenagers now so I have dealt with many challenges over the years feeding my kids. I want to share with you some things that have worked for us. Since my kids were young, I have tried to do the best I can to have balance with food. I want my kids to try new foods, and like foods that are healthy so I’ve tried various ways over the years to see what would work to get them to eat healthy foods and try things they wouldn’t generally eat.
1. Be Patient. Continue to offer new foods so they get used to seeing these foods on a regular basis. Encourage them to try the food each time you make it.
2. Make sure they are hungry. If your kids are hungry they are more likely to eat the healthy foods you prepare for them. Don’t let them snack close to meal time.
3. Educate them. From a very early age you can talk to them about why it’s important to eat healthy foods. You can check out books from the library about fruits and veggies. You can also check out kids cookbooks that have healthier recipes that the kids can help make. Have a vegetable of the week or fruit of the week and talk about why it’s healthy and incorporate it into your meals. You can never start too early, and it’s never too late to start.
4. Have fresh veggies and fruit washed a ready to eat. If it is easy to grab, they are more likely to eat it.
5. Have them help you plan and prepare the meals for the week. Let them help with the meal ideas for the week. Let them pick a meal that they would like for the week. Bottom line: HAVE HEALTHY MEALS PREPARED. They will eat it if it’s already made. (This is true in our family for teenagers.)
6. Always have something they like to eat with meals. When you prepare meals, always make sure you have a side dish you know they like to eat. Maybe it’s broccoli, great, have that on the table for every meal along with other vegetables to try. Encourage them to try one bite of everything on the table.
7. Try different ways to prepare things. Maybe prepare a food in a different way. You can also blend vegetables into certain foods and your kids won’t even know they are in there.
8. Have a treat. Don’t withhold things that aren’t as healthy because we all enjoy unhealthy foods on occasion. Set night or two that everyone can enjoy dessert after dinner. There are many healthier dessert options that can be made, then you don’t feel as guilty when you offer them a treat.
9. Include a fruit or vegetable at every meal. This will allow kids to see healthy foods at every meal.
10. TASTE TEST TIME (this is something our family really enjoys) One night a week at meal time try a new food. Have the kids pick it out at the store or get something and surprise them. This is a great way to try foods you may not even want to try. Most of the time the foods are healthy, but we also try things that aren’t as healthy. It’s a great way to expand your palate. There are so many fun fruits in the produce isle. There are fun things to try in the International foods section as well. Have fun with it! It brings fun and laughter to the table. Oh and sardines are a fun one! LOL!
Make food fun! Don’t stress, keep offering them healthy foods and they will eventually start trying new things. Don’t give up!