July 9, 2020

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy

healthy foods

So many moms and dads struggle with how to get kids to eat healthy. Getting your child to eat healthy food can seem like a monumental and almost impossible task. However, this is not true. Children pick up eating habits and strong preferences within their first few years. Children’s patterns can be influenced by the variety of foods they are introduced, the frequency with which they are introduced to healthy food, and their caretakers’ attitudes towards healthy food.

That’s right, you have the power to affect your child’s relationship with food. This is is good news! Now all you have to do is intentionally use this power for the good. Here are a few ways that you can positively influence your child to eat healthy foods. These tips can be used for all ages. It is never too late to start making healthy changes for your family.

healthy food
How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy
  1. Eat what you expect our kids to eat. I know this one sounds simple, but many parents forget that their kids are constantly watching them. Parenting is largely about what you say, but it is even more about what you do! Your children may hear what you say, but they will ultimately repeat what you do. If you are placing vegetables on your children’s plate at dinnertime, but you aren’t eating vegetables… this is hypocritical. When you go through a drive-thru and replace the fries in your child’s kid’s meal with fruit, don’t forget to do the same for your meal. By making healthy choices, you are teaching your child that: 

2. Make it colorful. Eating is an experience that we use more than one of our senses to do. We actually use all of our senses. Children use their sight heavily when they eat. They love colorful things. This is also true for eating. Try to use multiple colored foods when feeding them. For instance, for lunch you could serve your child chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese made with chickpea pasta, broccoli, and strawberries & blueberries, In that one meal you’ve used colors brown, orangish-yellow, green, red and blue. The more the better.

3. Let them prepare dinner with you. Children don’t always fully understand what you’re serving them. What may seem normal to us may be “too green” or “too slimy” for them to want to eat. Including your children in grocery shopping, picking fruits & vegetables, cooking, preparing the dinner table, and serving the food will take the mystery out of food. It will also encourage their love of cooking (a personal skill that everyone needs). Preparing a meal is also a stress-reducing & bonding activity.

4. Introduce your child to a food several times.Studies show that children may need to be introduced to a new food up to 10 times before they actually give it a try. This may seem like a lot, but remember that children are persistent. You must be more persistent. Do not give up simply because your child rejected steamed broccoli. Instead, try serving them broccoli in a different way.  So steamed broccoli isn’t your child’s thing?  Maybe they’d like broccoli and cheese rice. No matter what, do not stop introducing your children to good food. 

5. Respect that your child may not like every food.Okay, this is a big one! Every person will not like every food. Sometimes, no matter how many times we try a food, we just don’t like it. This applies to children as well. While teaching your child to eat healthily, be careful to not forget that children are people and they do have opinions. If you have tried several times to get your child to eat a certain food, and they still do not like it, it is okay to try again later. It is also okay to still cook that food for the rest of your family and place it on your child’s plate, while giving them the option to not eat it.

6. DO NOT make eating a traumatic experience. This is also a big problem. Parents often don’t know how to provide proper discipline for children while not engaging in a dinner time battle. There is a way to avoid cooking 30 different things for dinner so that everyone has options. 

how to get kids to eat healthy

BONUS TIP: Planning your meals is a great way to get rid of the dinner time confusion & frustration. Going into your week with a plan for attacking your child’s pickiness is essential to success. 

To help you get more organized and better plan your meals, check out my FREE Meal Planner & Grocery List! 

Getting your child to eat healthily or try new foods, can feel like a full-time job. With consistency and thoughtfulness, you can help your child create good habits.  I hope this helps you! In the comments below, share your experience and advice!  

Comments are closed.