No parent wants to constantly nag kids to eat their vegetables, but every parent hopes to provide kids with a healthy, balanced diet. How do you get kids to eat healthy without a fight? Make it fun and get kids involved.
Teach basic biology
Even preschoolers can be taught that good foods equal happy bodies. Talk about the digestive system in basic terms or make an analogy, such as telling your little car lover that he needs fuel for his engine. It may take a while to sink in, but it helps for kids to know why they need to eat well.
Take kids shopping
Bring your kids to the grocery store. Explain where various foods come from. Invite older children to read labels. Talk about ingredients and which ones sound healthy. Focus on whole foods and make a game out of seeing how many you can incorporate in a meal.
Plan meals together
As your kids begin to understand nutrition, ask them to help with basic meal planning. Try one kid-recipe day a week. If your children want to put together a plate of raw veggies and bagels with peanut butter, allow them to. Just make sure they understand the basic food groups, as explained by the USDA.
Play down fast food
Don’t make a big deal out of fast food, especially the kinds geared toward kids. If you make these a treat or a big part of your diet, your kids will expect more of them. According to healthfinder.gov, kids are eating out more often. High-calorie prepared foods and fast foods contribute to the United States’ obesity epidemic.
Let kids graze
Don’t be afraid to allow kids to set the pace when it comes to eating. Before dinner, when kids are whining for a snack, allow only a vegetable option such as carrot sticks. For lunch, try offering kids cubed chicken breast, cubed cheese and chopped fruits and veggies on a small platter. Get creative and let your kids graze instead of focusing on big meals.
Add healthy foods to recipes without bringing the healthy ingredients to your kids’ attention. Try grating vegetables into pasta sauce or adding some flax seed to homemade muffins. Depending on how picky your kids are, you can get away with making most of your family favorites healthier without kids ever noticing.