It can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy foods. In fact, a recent study showed that only 1 in 5 American children aged 6-19 years old consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. This is alarming, considering the importance of a nutritious diet for growing children. This blog post will discuss ten tips for getting your kids to eat healthy foods.
1) Involve your kids in meal planning and preparation:
Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to prepare. So, involve them in meal planning and food preparation whenever possible. This could mean letting them choose a healthy recipe to make for dinner or involving them in chopping vegetables for a salad. For example, search for easy to make hamburger soup recipes online together or look through cookbooks for ideas.
2) Make healthy eating fun:
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! There are plenty of ways to make healthy eating fun for kids. For instance, you could turn it into a game by having them guess the names of different fruits and vegetables. Or, you could let them help you create fun shapes with their food using cookie cutters.
3) Pack healthy snacks for on-the-go:
It’s important to have healthy snacks available for when your kids get hungry between meals. That way, they won’t be as likely to reach for unhealthy junk food. Some good ideas for healthy snacks include fruit, veggie sticks, whole grain crackers, yogurt, and nut butter.
4) Set a good example:
Children are more likely to eat healthy foods if they see their parents and other adults eating them as well. You can start by making healthy choices yourself and then involving your kids in preparing and eating meals together.
5) Avoid using food as a reward:
One common mistake parents make is using food as a reward for good behavior. For example, they might tell their child they can have a cookie if they finish their vegetables. Unfortunately, this can send the wrong message – that unhealthy foods are better than healthy ones. Instead of using food as a reward, try offering other incentives, such as extra screen time or a special activity.
6) Avoid insisting that your kids eat everything on their plate:
Forcing kids to eat food they don’t want can backfire and make them even less likely to eat it. If your child isn’t hungry or doesn’t like a particular food, let them stop eating when they’re no longer hungry. If you do not like to waste food, you can save it for later or give it to another family member.
7) Don’t ban all unhealthy foods:
If you completely ban unhealthy foods, it can make them more appealing to kids. Instead of banning all junk food, allow your kids to have small portions of it on occasion. This way, they won’t feel like they’re being deprived and are more likely to stick to their healthy eating habits overall.
8) Expose them to the dangers of obesity:
In some cases, kids may not be motivated to eat healthy foods because they don’t understand the dangers of obesity. You can help them understand by discussing the health risks associated with being overweight or obese. For instance, you could explain how carrying extra weight can increase their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems.
9) Be patient:
It can take time for kids to develop a taste for new foods. If your child doesn’t like a particular food at first, don’t give up! Keep offering it to them in different ways (e.g., cooked vs. raw, with dipping sauce, etc.), and eventually, they may come around.
10) Seek professional help:
If you’ve tried all of the above tips and your child still isn’t eating healthy, it may be time to seek professional help. Talk to your child’s doctor or a registered dietitian to get started. They can provide you with more customized advice based on your child’s specific needs.
Making healthy choices for your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these tips, you can help them develop lifelong healthy eating habits.