When it comes down to our kids eating healthy, it can be quite the challenge. The kids don’t like how the vegetables taste, smell, of sometimes even how they look. However, we can rise to the challenge without a degree in nutrition with the following ideas:
We need to remember that we are in control of what is in the house. If our pantries are full of unhealthy options, this is exactly what they will want. When you are out shopping, buy more fruits and vegetables, so they learn early that these are good options for snacks.
If they don’t finish all the food on their plate, it is ok! Let them tell you when they are done and have had enough. This will help them learn at an early age that they need to stop when they are full.
Healthy food can be fun! Just as the picture shows the little mushroom patch with boiled eggs and a few cherry tomatoes, we can help them enjoy good food choices. A few other ideas are celery and peanut butter, a fruit and veggie smoothie, yogurt, etc.
Our children’s food preferences tend to develop early so make sure you are providing lots of choices for them. Even as babies they know what they like or don’t like. If your child is consistent in not liking a certain food, don’t push it. Instead, continually introduce new foods to find some favorites.
Sweets after dinner are a fun treat as long as they do not become a habit or an incentive. If we give children sweets every time they finish a healthy meal it becomes a bribe and sends the message that it’s ok for them to eat sweets every day.
Last but not the least, the most important part is be a role model. If our children see us eating unhealthy foods and sweets all the time, how can they understand that it is bad for them? We should try to have at least one meal all together at the table each day with healthy food choices. These are just a few ideas that will help us as we respond to the challenge of helping our kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle early.