How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy
“What’s for dinner?” Every kid asks this question at some point or another, and most parents struggle to find the answer that will give their kids the right nutrition. You don’t want it to be a fight, but you want your kids to grow up big and strong. Kids can’t be healthy without a healthy diet and healthy eating habits. Here are some ways to get your picky eater to eat healthier and try new things:
- Start Young: To set good eating habits, start off feeding your kids many different fruits, vegetables, and proteins when they are young. By the time that they are toddlers, they should be able to eat the same things that are on your plate. Don’t prepare separate meals for them. Make them part of the dinner table, and have the same foods on your plate as theirs. Serve them broccoli, steak, sweet potato, strawberries, and fish–just make sure it’s bite-sized for them. It will help them to form good relationships with food, and eating a well-balanced meal will be normal to them as they age.
- Don’t Reward With Food: When your child gets good grades on a report card, don’t reward them with ice cream and chocolates. This reinforcement creates bad eating habits. Every time they have an accomplishment, they will reach for a sweet treat to pat themselves on the back. That’s not what food is for. It’s ok to have something sweet every now and then, but be careful not to associate it with behavior.
- Try Preparing It In Different Ways: If your child decides that they don’t like asparagus, then try making it again in a different way. Maybe they like their vegetables with a different seasoning, or maybe they like it softer. Test out different ways of cooking the same food to see if there is one way that they do enjoy. Even if they don’t like it, be firm and have them try a few bites. Sometimes, it’s a mental game. They’ve already decided they don’t like it before they’ve even tried it. Give it a few bites, and they may realize that it’s not so bad after all.
- Don’t Have It In The House: If your child reaches for the chips every time for a snack, then limit the amount of chips you have in the house. Don’t keep buying more if they continue to eat junk food instead of dinner. It’s ok to have some different treats, but they shouldn’t be in abundance.
- Teach Them What The Different Foods Do: If you’re struggling to encourage your child to eat their entire plate, then maybe knowing what the foods do will give them motivation to eat better. Teach them that spinach will give them energy and strong muscles, that carrots will help their eyesight, and that fish is brain food for a big, smart noggin. After knowing why they are eating these different foods, they may see the value in having a colorful plate.
Of course, be mindful of allergies and don’t push a food on a child if they truly have a bad reaction to it. Listen to your child and respect what they are saying, but all in all, they need to eat plenty of fruits and veggies to be healthy.