Written By: Parenting Contributor, Prerna Malik, TheMomWrites.com
Generally, kids equate healthy food with boring and funny-tasting. Yes, think broccoli. However, with a bit of tweaking, some creativity and planning, you can make healthy eating fun for everyone, including the youngest in the family.
Here are some simple ways to involve kids in eating healthy and boosting their nutrition:
1. Make Mealtimes Fun and Family-Oriented
A simple activity like having dinner together as a family at the table can be a huge motivator for kids to eat healthy. Lay down some ground rules, like “no snacking while watching television” and you’d have cut out unhealthy food choices like, chips and sodas almost instantly.
Children learn best by example. So make sure that you, too, don’t snack on unhealthy foods and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Conversation at the dinner table shouldn’t be harsh, critical, argumentative or emotionally upsetting as far as possible to discourage emotional eating.
2. Take Kids Food Shopping
Kids, as old as preschoolers, enjoy touching and feeling foods as well as smelling them. Take them to the supermarket or better still, farmer’s market with you and let them pick one new vegetable or fruit to try that week. The fact that they made the choice will ensure that they also eat it.
Also seeing raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to encourage them to eat them in their cooked avatar as well.
Eat Healthy by Let’s Move offers you some tips to plan your healthy food budget and not break the bank.
3. Experiment with New Cuisines and Flavors
Serving the same ole’ casseroles or pastas, day-after-day? Spice things up in the kitchen. Literally. There are a gazillion food websites that offer interesting recipes and cuisines for you to try out. Kids who refuse to eat pumpkin in a casserole may love it in a Mediterranean-style soup. So, think out of the box. Be creative. Experiment and you’ll be delighted with the results.
Involve the kids as you browse through sites and recipe books. Let them choose meals that look interesting and offer good nutrition as well. Most sites also offer nutritional information so you can make informed choices easily.
4. Try Not Being a Short-Order Cook
Don’t like what’s served for dinner? Sorry, you’re not getting anything else. It may sound harsh but it will save your kids from a lot of health issues if you stop being a short order cook and let them eat what everyone else at the table is eating. A few exceptions can be unwell children, very small children, food allergy issues or doctor guidelines.
Ready to get kids excited about eating healthy? Share with me in the comments which tip will YOU be using first!