Many parents struggle to get their children to eat properly. Reports of just how bad sugary, fatty, salty and food with high fat content are keep popping up in the headlines. Yet these are the foods kids crave. Mealtimes are battle grounds in many houses where parents try to get children to eat healthy, while the children refuse. And this battle isn’t new. It’s been going on for a long, long time. Children learn from their parents. Modeling healthy snacking, well balanced meals and relegating unhealthy foods as a small, special treat are all part of what will get a child to select healthy options over less healthy ones. But there are many other strategies you can utilize to get your kids to eat healthy. For instance, pack your pantry with lots of healthful options and make the junk food scarce. Giving kids a choice, not allowing their choices to be junk food, and empowering them to choose rather than forcing healthy food upon them are all good ways to get your kids to eat right.
Try introducing different healthy dishes to see what they like best. But keep bringing back family favorites as well. If your child refuses to eat vegetables, perhaps a fruit smoothie with some kale and other veggies introduced in will help. Make mashed potatoes with cauliflower already inside. Peanut or almond butter on carrots or celery is a delicious and nutritious snack kids will love. Add raisins and you have ants on a log. Make the meal a game, letting the kids guess what is good for them and why. Put the food into fun shapes like smiley faces. Have a selection of healthy snacks and let the child choose. Or give them healthy options for the dinner menu and they can choose which dish you make tonight. If your child eats too much ice cream at a birthday party and has a tummy ache point out that it was all that fat and sugar that did so. Introducing a healthy food culture into the home will make your kids want to eat healthy. It will be a part of your family and stick with them for life.