Do your children frown at the idea of having to eat vegetables, wheat products, or other nutritious foods? Lots of parents seem to have this same issue. Often referred to as “picky eaters” children are often reluctant to change. They’d much rather gorge on things like pizza, sugary drinks, and sweet treats than be “forced” to eat tasteless, boring healthy foods. Try as you may get them to eat what is best, it can seem like an uphill battle you’ll never win. Luckily, there are some parents who have won the war on healthy eating with their children, and here are some things they’ve tried.
Give Them Choices
Instead of demanding that your child eat what you choose, allow them a bit of freedom to choose their own meal and snacks. Provide them with at least two or three options, ensuring that each of these options is healthy. You might try offering them celery and peanut butter, apples and Nutella, or grapes and cheese crackers for a snack. All provide valuable nutrition, and your child will feel empowered because it was “their idea”.
Let Them Cook with You
A lot of lessons can be learned when children are allowed to work with their parents in the kitchen. Hands-on meal prep can be a great way to spend quality time with them, and also allow them to learn new recipes and methods of preparing food. Not to mention, the excitement of being a “big helper” for mom and dad, can override their disdain for vegetables and other healthy foods.
Sneak Nutrition Into Recipes They Love
As the saying goes, what they don’t know won’t hurt them. When preparing dishes they love, don’t hesitate to swap out a few unhealthy ingredients for some healthier options. For example, if your kids love fruit smoothies, adding psyllium fiber powder to them is a great way to increase their fiber intake to support their digestive health. Another example could be using whole wheat or veggie pasta when making spaghetti or using stevia or other sweeteners when baking cakes.
Find Flavorful Recipes
Sometimes the problem with nutritious food options, for adults included is lack of taste. When something is bland, it can be difficult to be encouraged to eat it. Therefore, you’ve got to spice things up in the kitchen. Find interesting ways to prepare healthy foods and snacks that will appeal to your child’s palate.
Lead by Example
A child’s habits are often developed and fostered by those they are closest to. If you want them to be encouraged to eat the right things, it is imperative that you are doing the same. Allow them to see you indulging in healthy fruits and veggies with positivity and with time, they may be encouraged to do the same.
No matter what avenue you try to get them on the right track, remember that it can take time, and forcing them is never the way to go. Getting your kids to be on-board with eating healthy foods is certainly a battle, but it is one that can be one with patience, compassion, and sometimes a bit of trickery.