Kids’ healthy eating habits begin with Mom and Dad. Kids are incredibly observant and are less likely to eat green beans if you are pushing them away from your plate too. So, step number one in improving your kids’ eating habits is to improve your own! I’ve seen this happen time and again with my clients, who, after making the effort to eat healthier meals, including more colorful vegetables and whole grains into their diet, find that their children want to eat better too! For example, one of my clients was amazed to find out that her 2-year old loved quinoa, kale and other leafy greens! You never know until you try.
But if you have improved your diet and your kid doesn’t follow in your steps, here are some other ways to get them more excited about healthy food (and they can’t hurt you either!) :
1. Have healthier snacks on hand. All humans have a sweet tooth and when presented with carrots or Teddy Grahams, likely the child will go for the latter – you may too. But presenting kids with healthier alternatives like veggies and fruits, your child will make a good choice regardless.
2. Teach your child moderation, (and practice it yourself!) Don’t make certain foods forbidden. Then of course they will want them! I remember as a kid, my Mom would only make homemade gelatin. We weren’t allowed to have Jell-O. So, of course when I would go to a friend’s house, I’d ALWAYS want Jell-O. Instead of putting certain foods on the “NO -NEVER” list, teach your kids how to eat them consciously, and in moderation. That means focus on chewing and savoring each bite.
3. Make Food Fun! Getting kids involved with cooking, shopping, gardening or menu planning helps them develop a sense of ownership and pride about the food. I noticed this with my niece and nephew when they came to visit. They were much more likely to try new vegetables if we cut them up together or they sprinkled them on pizza, for instance.
4. Color! You’ve heard it many time – eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits per day! This is perhaps the easiest and most fun way to get kids to appreciate food. Make a color coordinated list of all fruits and vegetables and make sure you check off one in each color category per day! Make a game out of it!
Do you have any other tips? If so, leave them here!
For more information on how to get kids involved, visit: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org
Click on the tab that says: GET KIDS INVOLVED