Some kids enjoy fruits and vegetables, while others would rather eat the fungus between their toes than try a few green beans. Getting your children to eat healthily can be challenging, but they need the vitamins and nutrients healthy foods provide.
So, how can you ensure your kids get everything they need? Here are a few ways you can encourage healthy eating with your children.
Start Introducing Healthy Options Early
The earlier you can introduce nutritious food to your kid, the better. By giving them healthy foods early, your child can become accustomed to fruits and vegetables and consider them normal. Processed foods may be easier to serve, but they don’t do your kids any favors.
Try to limit the amount of junk food they’re allowed to have and offer healthier snack options. Children must eat every three to four hours to fuel their growing bodies. You can pack a cooler for outings with yogurt and fruit rather than bags of chips or fast food for snack times. This can help curb your kids’ appetite for unhealthy foods.
Ensure They Eat Breakfast
Breakfast is an excellent time to sneak fiber into your children’s diet. You can find some high-fiber cereals that will give them what they need and entice them to eat breakfast. This is an essential meal for kids, but they often skip it. Children who eat breakfast have better problem-solving skills, more energy and overall better health than kids who don’t.
Many people aren’t hungry in the mornings, but for kids, you should ensure they eat something for breakfast. This meal is vital to a good metabolism since it’s like a jumpstart for the rest of their day. Greek yogurt and whole grain toast are easy breakfast options if you’re in a rush. You can also make boiled eggs ahead of time and serve them on the go.
Meal Prep As Much As You Can
Meal prep can ensure you incorporate healthy foods into your family’s daily meals and save yourself some time. Cooking methods can affect how many nutrients remain in your food, so ensure you prepare them properly to retain as much of the good stuff as possible. Try not to overcook your vegetables and ensure you are using high-quality cookware.
Additionally, try to sit together as a family for meals as often as possible. Family meal time provides comfort for children and they often look forward to sharing that time. Kids also mimic their parents, so ensure you eat healthy food options to encourage them to do the same.
You could also get them involved in cooking and teach them about the foods you create. Children love to help, so making them a part of the meal prep could make them want to eat healthy foods. Kids can be amazed at the transformation from ingredients to meals and savor every bite with pride, knowing they helped with the process.
Make Eating Fun for Kids
There are numerous ways you can make eating healthily fun for your children. You can play games asking kids to guess what fruit is in a paper bag by touching or smelling it or present food in creative ways that look appealing to them.
Try getting your children to eat a rainbow a day and make something pretty on their plates before consuming it. You can use cookie cutters to transform sandwiches into cool little shapes or make whole-grain pancakes with smiley faces.
Also, you could incorporate theme nights into your home with dishes from around the world. Host nights involving them in cooking, like pizza night or dessert bars with frozen yogurt and toppings galore. For extra organization, you can use worksheets to plan your theme nights with meals that foot the bill.
Sneak in Some Good Stuff
Strawberries covered in dark chocolate are good for your kids, but they don’t have to know that. Cook carrots with brown sugar and marshmallows to excite your children about eating vegetables. This can set them up for success in later years because they’ll remember these recipes and know they like certain fruits and vegetables.
They will likely grow out of wanting or needing sugar with their healthy treats. Adding a sprinkle of sugar on some fruit or salt on watermelon now can make them more enthusiastic about eating the good stuff later. The dash or sprinkle of sugar or salt doesn’t diminish the vitamins and nutrients they gain from these treats.
Encouraging a Lifetime of Healthy Eating In Your Kids
Don’t fight with your kids about eating healthy. Instead, find inventive ways to promote healthy eating habits as early as possible. Try these tips and tricks to encourage your kids to eat healthily and obtain optimal health. A little popcorn at the movies or sundae after a family outing never hurt anyone, as long as you do it in moderation — balance is everything.