All ma mommies + daddies put ur hands up!
This ones for you.
How to make your kids eat healthy.
There is really no solid way honestly. Some kids have no issue, some have major ones. How old they are, what their current learned eating habits are, and how long they have been developing those habits, all come into play when trying to make a whole family transition to healthier foods.
Obviously the earlier you start introducing healthier options the easier things will be. If you create healthy eating habits right-out-the-gate than it will just be natural to them. Of course this is not always the way it works, and even when we try, some kids are just much pickier than others. Some transition super easy from bad to good habits, and with some it ends up being like pulling teeth.
No one tip is going to work for all babies (babies ranging from age 0 to age not-living-at-home-anymore). But if you are looking for any and all tips that you can get your hands on, to try and transition into a healthier lifestyle and get your kids not only eating better, but LOVING to eat better, then I have a few ideas for you to try out.
- Let them be picky about a few things: No one likes the same things, even as adults, so let them have a few things that they are allowed to just not like at. all. They are more likely to enjoy trying knew things if they know that if it makes them gag you wont force them to eat it all the time. The only thing in this house for us is that they are not allowed to just say that about every single thing they try… and I think it’s safe to say, as parents, we are pretty good at being able to tell if they truly can’t stand something or if they are just being fakies. They eat what we make, if I use onions or mushrooms they are allowed to pick it out of the dish (NOT just not eat the whole thing). If I make something for the first time they usually have to finish up their plate and if they SUPER don’t like it then I just make a note to remember it was not a hit!
- Let them add to the grocery list: When ever you make a list for shopping. You could start by letting them pick one thing or even something from each department (one thing produce, one thing meat, dairy, and bakery.) Obviously encourage healthier things, but just being able to have a say in what the groceries will be will get them excited to eat it. They picked it! I find now, when I ask the kids I get a lot of fruit items added to the list and the occasional ice cream. Which brings me to…
- Transition their favorite treats to healthier versions: Frozen yogurt for ice cream, or better yet frozen fresh fruit blended up for a thick smoothie, or “nice cream”. Switch out your baking flour from white flour to whole wheat flour, or try out recipes that look indulgent but are made with healthier ingredients!
- Lie about it: WHAT EVER I SAID LIE. I made these chocolate avocado flaxseed muffins ages ago when we were only just slowly making the switch over. Literally just avocado, egg, almond butter, flax seed, vanilla, honey, and cacao powder (and chocolate chips + walnuts on top… of course). I was NOT going to tell them it was made with avocado because at the time they all haaaatttted avocados and I didn’t want them to make a decision about the muffins before they had tried them. The power of the mind is a powerful thing, and if they thought they weren’t going to like it, well then they probably weren’t going to like it…. So I told them they were brownie muffins. They loved them. THEN I spilt the beans on how I made them. From then on, when I made things like avocado chocolate pudding, they took no issue in how it was made because they knew how good an avocado could be!
- Let them make the dinner: We use to let them each have a night a month where not only did they cook the meal (supervised of course) but they got to pick what it was. This is a double tip actually, if you only have good healthy ingredients in the house, then that’s all they have to choose from. It’s is exciting to get to go through the cupboards, the fridge, the freezer, and pull together a delicious meal for your family that you can get excited about everyone eating and enjoying and knowing “I made that!”…. It’s exciting for kids too!… But seriously, with a little help (and maaaybe a little nudging… I mean teaching) it can really get them excited about food, and good ingredients. Sometimes you might have pasta with diced tomatoes and butter and a side of scrambled eggs and other times you might have toasted whole wheat peanut butter sandwhiches and homemade baked French fries, but I can promise you it’s always going to be delicious cause your baby made it for you. **Extra tip tip for number 5. Get them to write down what they’re doing if they’re old enough. Creating an actual recipe is even more exciting!
- Don’t be too strict: Buy granola bars with chocolate chips sometimes, bring home a pizza every now and then, take them for ice cream cones, have whipping cream and candy canes with your hot chocolate, cookies and milk. The idea is to teach them healthy habits, ordering a side of apples instead of fries, asking for a banana instead of a donut, water instead of juice, but treat indulgence as indulgence, special treats as treats for special times. Don’t get rid of them, just don’t let them BE their diets.
- Remember you are building habits: … and sometimes breaking already built old ones. It’s going to take time.
The best way to build habits is to teach them, and the best way to teach them is to show them, and the best way to show them is to do them yourselves.