One of the biggest complaints we get from our clients is their children will not eat healthy foods. Today, I’d like to give you some helpful tips that I’ve gathered over the years as a Naturopath and as a Mother of 4 that will help you to get your kids to eat healthy foods.
First, I’d like to address 2 major points on helping your kids eat healthy:
1. You are the parent! That is the most important thing. You decide what is served and what isn’t. You know more than your 4 year old son. I understand that he only wants to eat chicken nuggets from McDonald’s (which really isn’t chicken..but that is for another time) but YOU know what is best for him and for his body. Period.
2. Kids will eat when they get hungry. I promise. They won’t starve.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the “how to” portion of this post:
- Enlist your kids to help with meal preparation. Kids will take pride in what they cook and are more likely to eat it.
- Take your kids to a local farmer’s market to buy vegetables. They will love picking out new foods to try.
- Don’t take away all their “unhealthy” foods at once. Try a new food every day. If your kids are only use to eating chicken nuggets, try making a gluten-free version. Make a healthier version of their favorite foods.
- Take the “take it or leave it” approach. Start this approach early! Do NOT make a different meal for the kids and the parents. Kids need to eat what the parents eat. (Plus it makes the parent’s job easier!)
- Don’t make a big deal about eating healthy foods. Just serve it. When substituting their unhealthy foods, just do it. You do not need to let them know everything you are doing.
- Don’t ask “what do you want for dinner?” Kids don’t need to make the decision. Remember you are the parent! Occasionally, they can have an input. “Would you rather have this or that?” The least amount of options, the better.
- Grow your own vegetables. Plant a little raised bed in your back yard. Kids will love to take part in growing their food. You will be amazed how many cherry tomatoes a child can eat while harvesting the garden! Plus it’s a great family activity!
- If they don’t like something, make sure they still take several bites. I know a mom who makes her children take the number of bites per age. For example, if they are 6, they need to take 6 bites. It works for her and her children have learned to eat what is served.
- Make sure they are hungry when it’s time to eat. Limit snacks!
- Be creative with your ingredients. It is amazing how many vegetables you can hide in a meatloaf or spaghetti sauce!
- Have raw vegetables available for kids to snack on. Stock a kid-accessible shelf in your fridge with little bags of cut fruit and vegetables.
- Make vegetables fun!
I love this vegetable farm! You can see the post here. Kids will love this snack!
- Remember, you are the example. They will do what you do!
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Our desire is to help you and your family on your journey to great health. Please let us know if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you.