I get asked a lot for tips on getting kids to eat healthy. Let me first start off by saying that, if its not good enough for you to eat, then you shouldn’t be feeding it to your kids. There is no reason to make 2 different options at every meal! Everyone should eat the same things. If your diet is important to you because you want to be healthy, then it should be just as important that you feed your kids that way! Why on earth would I feed my kids hot dogs, while I am sitting over here eating chicken and veggies?!?
1. Don’t have unhealthy options at home. YOU go grocery shopping. YOU put the items in your cart. YOU pay money for these items. The common denominator here is YOU! Children have zero control over the food in your house unless you allow them to. If kids have the choice between chips or fruits and veggies, they will most likely choose chips! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out!!
2. If it stresses you out, then don’t take them shopping with you. They will whine and try and get you to buy junk. If you want to brave it, like I have to most of the time, try and turn it into a game. “Lets find which foods are healthy.” “help me put the food in the bag” or “point out which foods are unhealthy” This doesn’t always curb fits, but you never know, they might surprise you.
3. When they make a healthy food choice, praise them!! “wow! I am so proud that you made such a healthy choice and it makes me happy to know that your body is growing big and strong!!”
4. The opposite end of number three. When they make a bad choice, don’t make a huge deal about it! They are going to go to birthday parties and have too much cake. They will go to school and their friends will give them cookies. If you make them feel bad, they are just going to turn into secret eaters. I had this problem with my daughter and a good friend mentioned that as long as I am feeding them healthy at home, when the occasionally go out and eat bad, its not such a big deal.
5. Dipping sauces! If I have to put cheese or sauce on something to get my kids to eat it, then so be it! There is a great recipe on here called tzatziki (tuh-zee-kee) at home. It is made from greek yogurt and it tastes just like ranch dressing. My kids love this! They also love almond butter and peanut butter with apples and celery. I also make honey mustard for chicken. I use a couple tablespoons of mustard, some mayo and honey to taste. The absolutely love this sauce!
6. Last night for dinner I steamed asparagus, snap peas and broccoli. I shredded some cheese and put it on the veggies back into the steamer for a minute or two. Its was gooey and delicious. I served it with baked tilapia. As soon as I set it on the table, my 2 year old grabbed a huge bite of the tilapia and i ran for my camera. i said “Everyone, look at Myla eating her food!” And I took a picture. Soon everyone was saying “take a picture of me eating my broccoli!” or peas or what ever. They all cleaned their plates. I was happy!
Dinner last night:
7. Notice how I served asperagus, snap peas and broccoli. They aren’t going to like everything. There are still veggies that I won’t eat as an adult, like lima beans. But sometimes it takes just putting it on their plate a few times to get them to try it. Most likely they won’t touch it and I will just put it in my husband’s lunch for the next day. But just because they don’t eat something, don’t give up on it. I swear I have fed my kids sweet potatoes 1000 times. My oldest still gags, but she is older and I can say “You have to eat 5 bites” or whatever.
Don’t give up on your kids’ diet! A diet is not something that you ever get “done” with. Its not a temporary thing. It is something learned that you keep doing for the rest of your life! How amazing will it be for your kids to grow up with healthy eating habits!? Can you imagine not having cravings or struggles because you were well disciplined and educated as a child!? Remember, education, praise and patience is the key! Good Luck!