Kids normally love to eat healthy foods like fruit, yogurt, and milk. But today, sweets are everywhere and fast food burger/fries are “so cool.” And to be fair, much of this stuff does taste nice… for an 8 year old kid. It’s easy to understand that the benefits of healthy eating for your children could vanish quickly in front of such temptations.
As parents, this makes it much more difficult for us to make sure our kids eat healthily – especially when they get to the point where they don’t accept the good foods you give them.
But it is not necessarily the fault of sweets and candies; some kids simply don’t want to eat certain foods. It’s kind of a rejection. But there are some good ways to get your kids to eat healthy, and the best thing is that they often won’t even notice it. Healthy eating ideas for kids can be found in everyday routines and activities.
Information about healthy eating for kids is not so easy to find, but with a bit of common sense every parent will be able to succeed!
Following our previous article about making kids love and eat vegetables, here are some tips to help you get your kids to eat healthy foods:
1. Get the whole family involved to eat healthy
Sit down together with your child and list some healthy foods he or she likes that can substitute for the foods you want to eliminate. Encourage your child to suggest healthy foods by him/herself. Make sure your kid agrees to so that he or she will eat them instead of the unhealthy foods. Meal planning over the week is a good method to get everyone involved and happy to have their own choices respected. Try to get some healthy foods that everyone agrees upon, though they don’t all have to be the same.
Teaching children healthy eating habits concerns the whole family so everyone should be involved.
Choose only fresh whole foods: Fresh fruits and vegetables, a little bit of whole grains, and healthy proteins; organic if possible.
Change these habits into an eating adventure, exploring new and healthier foods instead of staying tied to a dull and boring diet.
2. Make healthy foods more interesting and appealing to kids
Decorate the foods nicely so that your child’s plate will look more intriguing. This is an effective method of educating children on healthy eating.
Use different cookie cutters to cut sandwiches and cheese
paint faces with tomato paste
cut fruits or vegetables into shapes; arrange them as a face or animal. It’s always a success!
3. Serve healthy foods in a way your child likes
Sometimes kids actually only have a problem with the texture of the food, not the food itself, or its taste.
I once met a child that refused everything that was not perfectly smooth because he was overly sensitive in his mouth and couldn’t stand the feeling of pieces.
Instead of eating raw fruit, make a stew or bake it. You can also purée it and mix it in yogurt. You can even blend it in a smoothie, or make a good jam or jelly. Try a different way of preparing the veggies. Maybe you need to bake or grill them, instead of leaving them raw.
4. Hide the rejected healthy foods in those your child loves to eat
Mushrooms and aubergines can be chopped finely and mixed into minced meat (meat balls or patties). Cook or grill healthy vegetables until soft and put them in the food processor to make a smooth paste. Then mix it with tomato purée to make a nice tomato sauce for your spaghetti. Check this post about how to make your child eat vegetable for some surprising methods!
5. Motivate kids to eat healthy and nutritious food
Always try to motivate kids to eat healthy and nutritious food. Always sit with your children when they are eating. The whole family should also eat dinner together. Healthy eating games for kids are fun too!
Sometimes try to create unique preparations since children like variety, but the preparation should be nutritious. For instance, I usually prepare custard with bananas, apples, oranges, etc… and my son enjoys it very much.
6. Acclimate your children to eating healthy early
Make them discover healthy food early in their life. At the age when my baby started eating solid foods, I had already introduced healthy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and leafy vegetables that are easy to chew and mash. My kid loves eating healthy fruits like grapes, oranges, bananas, and only eat a little meat.
Forcing the kid to eat will make matters worst. You can finely chop the vegetables or fruits and add them in baked goods if you are good at baking, or to their favorite foods such as spaghetti, baked mac, or even pizza.
Two things are very important: You need to be an example for your child and eat healthy yourself, because our kids like to copy what we do. And you mustn’t give up. Don’t fight about a certain food, just serve a small portion of it every now and then in an appealing way, maybe with other healthy foods your child likes.
Sometimes they simply need some time until they get comfortable with a certain food.
So what about your tips and tricks to make your kids eat healthy food?