How To Encourage Your Kids to Eat Healthy
We’ve all been there – you made a delicious, nutritious, and healthy dinner for our family only to have one or more of our kids turn their noses up at the meal you worked so hard to create. Don’t get discouraged! This article is meant to give you some good ideas on how to encourage your kids to embrace healthy eating.
Try these tips when trying to encourage healthy eating habits:
1. Provide Choices. Whether planning or preparing a meal, provide your child with choices. For instance, when preparing a snack give your child a choice between sliced apples, baby carrots, or celery with almond butter. This gives your little one the independence kids desire while keeping food choices in the healthy arena.
2. Offer Hands-On Education. Take the kids to tour an organic farm. It’s one thing to see carrots, peeled and sealed in a plastic bag on the kitchen counter. It’s a completely different thing to stand in rich fertile earth and pull a carrot out of the ground. Or pluck blueberries from a bush and put as many in your pail as you put in your mouth. Or see how easily the vine releases a scarlet tomato when it’s ripe for the picking. Walking through the fields and groves of local farms will help kids feel a new respect for where their food comes from – and might even make them want to try their hand at growing something.
3. Make Healthy Choices Easily Accessible: Knowing that the things that are most accessible are probably the first thing the kids will reach for, reserve the front of your refrigerator and cupboards for the healthy foods you want them to eat. A grove of broccoli “trees” standing in a bed of hummus; bite size celery pieces; grapes washed and off the vine and frozen; cherry tomatoes – when they’re prominently displayed and readily available, the kids will find the healthy foods first – and gobble them up.
4. Get Kids in the Kitchen: If the only time your kids see their food is when it’s prepared and plated, they will continue to have a passive relationship with it. Instead, make it fun – and mandatory – that they actively participate in planning and creating healthy meals and snacks with activities that match their age and skill set. For very young kids, “Ants on a Log” is a great choice. You cut the celery and fill the stalk with almond butter, while they add the raisin “ants.” As they get older they’ll be able to use knives, a blender and other appliances with your direct supervision. The important thing is to let the kids have the hands-on experience of creating healthy, nutritious meals or snacks for family and friends.
5. Be a Role Model: Children are easily influenced – especially by their parents. So, practice what you preach, and your little ones are more likely to follow.
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