With all of the junk foods out there today, getting kids to eat healthy can be a trick. In fact, many kids associate the term “healthy food” with something yucky. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t change your kids’ minds about healthy foods and get them to enjoy eating healthy. Below are some tips to help you out.
Hide the vegetables. For young children who adamantly refuse to eat veggies, hide them! Here’s how:
- Add pureed winter squash, carrots or sweet potatoes into cheese sauce.
- Steam a few veggies (broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc.) and put in a blender with a jar of spaghetti sauce. Blend them all together and serve over spaghetti. Your kids will never know they’re eating veggies too!
- Mince veggies such as broccoli and add to homemade pizza – it’ll never be noticed.
Take it slow and replace one food at a time. Getting kids to eat healthy can be like pulling teeth when you try to make a bunch of dietary changes at once. However, it’s much easier if you take it slow and only change one food at a time. For example:
- Stop using white flour products and start using whole wheat flour products. You can easily do this with breads, pastas, cereals and the baking flour you use at home. This is a food change that your family won’t likely notice.
- Replace frozen chicken nuggets and fish sticks with a homemade version. Do this by cutting up healthy pieces of meat, coating in bread crumbs and baking them in the oven.
- Don’t make a full transition right away. Instead, ease into it. For instance, replace only ½ or so of the white rice in a recipe with brown rice. The next time you fix it, replace 2/3 of it and then the third time you make it, replace all of it with the brown rice.
Read to your kids about healthy foods. Young children love to have stories and books read to them. So, why not start reading to your kids stories that talk about healthy foods? If you have older kids, take them to the library and help them choose an educational book about eating healthy and how healthy foods enhance the body’s functionality.
Be positive about food. Help encourage your kids’ curiosity about healthy foods by being positive about food. One way to do this is to ask your kids to help you prepare dinner. Let them get involved in the preparation process so they can learn about the foods they’re eating and how all the ingredients go together to create a healthy, yet tasty, meal.