For most people, eating healthy means sticking to a vegetarian or plant-based diet. Others would even recommend more strict meal plans. However, when it comes to kids, restrictive diets do not work out. Some kids hate vegetables and want to eat sweets and junk food. But that doesn’t mean encouraging them to eat healthily is impossible.
Getting your children to eat better requires a lot of time and patience, but the benefits can be fruitful. In fact, studies suggest that kids who eat healthily do better in school, are on the right weight, have great energy levels, and good oral health. Learn from our list how you can effectively introduce healthy eating to your kids.
Purchase healthy dinnerware
The first step to getting your picky kids to eat better is providing them with unique, non-toxic dinnerware. Kid-safe dinnerware pieces can be bought almost everywhere. Tableware such as bamboo utensils and plates are among the best options for kids since they are non-toxic, antimicrobial, and lightweight. Bamboo and plant-based dinnerware are also considered sustainable or eco-friendly as they are biodegradable as well.
Another safe option is tableware made from silicone. Being toxic and a form of plastic is a misconception about silicone. Food-grade silicone isn’t made from hydrocarbons like plastic. It’s petroleum-free and odor resistant. It’s also a safe option for toddlers who love biting things.
Let kids make their plates
Teaching your kids how to make their own plates can get them more interested in trying new foods and exercising their independence. The first tries may not be easy, but most children are willing to get healthy food if they have control over their plates. The only thing you need to do is to put healthy meals in front of them. According to dieticians and nutritionists, you should have fruits, vegetables, protein, and milk on the table. The more options your kids have, the better.
Get groceries with them
If you want your kids to get more excited about what they will eat, go food shopping with them. This way, your children can have more idea about the foods or ingredients you use when cooking. You are also allowing them to give some input on what meals they would like for the week. Let them choose what recipes they like to get ingredients for. If you want to introduce them to all kinds of vegetables and fruits, play the color game. Ask them to get the red bell pepper or the green broccoli. This simple game can make food shopping more fun for them while they explore all types of food.
Let them cook with you
Besides going food shopping with your kids, let them help you with cooking too. Yes, this can be pretty messy and stressful if you have active kids, but this is a good trick into encouraging them to eat better. If they prepared the food on the table, they’re more willing and excited to try it. Experts suggest starting with build-it-yourself meals such as pizza, sandwiches, salad bars, and fajitas. Children of all ages can help with cooking. If you have younger ones, you can give them simple tasks such as mixing ingredients in a bowl, mashing potatoes, or stirring the batter.
Use familiar dressings or sauces
No matter how much you try, kids sometimes find it hard to try new foods that don’t look like the ones they like eating. One smart way to introduce them to eating a healthy salad is by putting your kid’s favorite dressing or sauces in the bowl. Just add small amounts of vegetables or fruits on the first serves, and increase it as you go along. This is a good trick if your kid is a fussy eater.
Do not push it
While introducing kids to new foods is what we want, it’s pretty impossible that they’ll like everything. They’re kids, after all. If you have a picky eater, you’d likely need to introduce food in various preparations or recipes or use different seasonings. If you continue to serve healthy meals on the table, they will eventually eat them without you having to force them to. Also, don’t send a message that certain foods are unhealthy or forbidden. Instead of forbidding them from eating foods high in sugar, creatively include them in meals and healthy ingredients.
As adults, you already probably know that what you eat and drink can impact your health for the years to come. That’s why parents need to help their kids form good eating patterns. By doing so, you can ensure that they will get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and enjoy their younger years!