How To Make Your Kids Fall In Love With Healthy Food

As moms, we can all sympathize with those who have fussy eaters.

Whether it be just a phase, or no vegetable will pass their lips ever, it can be incredibly frustrating and worrisome when your kids won’t eat healthy food.

People have always found it surprising that my children (even when they were small) both enjoying wholesome foods like fresh sticks of bell pepper or fresh fruits and choosing those over stereotypical kid choices like cake or pop tarts.

“How?” I hear you cry. Well for us it was pretty simple. We just didn’t keep any junk food in our home, therefore, our kids did not get used to the sugar laden sweet treats most kids crave.

For the most part, by the time they got to kindergarten, those sugary treats were alien to my kids and actually the things they didn’t want to try, where it would normally be the other way around.

Cutting out junk wasn’t the only way we steered our kids towards healthy food, but it helped. However there are a number of techniques you can use.

So let’s look closer at how to make your kids fall in love with healthy food.

Be Patient, Not Pushy.

The truth is, being the food police won’t get you anywhere. Telling kids they can’t have something is more likely to spark rebellion.

Instead stock your fridge to the brim with healthy and delicious real foods and cut out the junk completely, but allow your kids to eat anything you have at home whenever they want.

That way even if they choose to demolish a fruit salad before a plate of veggies, at least you know any food choice they make is a healthy one, even if it’s not ideal.

Help Them Learn From Food Mistakes

Because we already decided we won’t be the food police, don’t scold your child if they go to a friends birthday party and eat a piece of cake the size of their head. Instead, try to teach them about consequences, like pointing out that the tummy ache and nausea they now have is most likely because they ate enough cake to feed a rhino!

Be a Good Role Model

Remember, kids take their examples from their parents. If you’re reaching for fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains the likelihood is, they will too.

Let’s face it, you can’t really sit and scoff a full bar of Hershey’s in front of your kids and then say they can’t eat chocolate because it’s bad for them.

Of course you’re an adult and if you really need to scratch that sweet itch (a long day at work and a bad case of PMS calls for it now and again) try and eat it at a time they won’t see you do so (preferably in a hot bath in peace when they are in bed!)

Let Them Grow Their Own Vegetables

One way I have found really successful at getting my kids to love veggies is by letting them grow their own.

We started with little pots on the windowsill that the kids had to water and watch grow. Then when they were ready, pulled them up and ate them!

We all know the fresher the vegetable the better the taste and eating something you’ve grown yourself gives you satisfaction. Plus it’s a great way to educate children about where food comes from and how foods that grow in the ground are good for them.

This goes for grocery shopping and cooking too.

Getting your kids to pick the produce at the farmer’s market or help you with the mixing bowl is just another way to give them a sense of achievement when it comes to mealtimes, but also help to educate them about how food gets from the ground, to our fridge and then onto our plate.

Have a Pre-Approved Snack Shelf

If you create a shelf or cupboard in your pantry that even young kids can reach that is packed with healthy  snack options, when it comes to snack time, your little ones can choose their own snacks (knowing whatever they choose is healthy).

This is encouraging children to take responsibility for their nutrition and make their own decisions about what they put into their body.

Make Food Fun

Make the foods your child eats and educational game. I used to get my kids to help me put away the groceries and we would play “what does this food do?”

Let’s face it, all kids like a bit of healthy competition. So as we would put away foods I would ask “what does this food do”.

For example if it was milk they would have to say it gives them strong bones or teeth, blueberries help our brain, salmon gives us a healthy heart and so on.

The fastest right answer earns a point, the one with the most points wins. The winner gets a reward (usually it was their favorite meal for dinner than night or they get to choose the movie for movie night and so on). Of course, if they don’t know what a food does, we tell them so they remember for next time.

Helen Sanders is chief editor at Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

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