Getting kids to eat healthily can be a real challenge, especially if you have a picky eater among your ranks. However, just remember that you as a kid were probably just as picky and not really into making healthy choices – and you turned out all right. So, with some patience, you will surely get your kids on the right path to eating healthy food. Take a look below to see what actions you can take.
Gradually introduce changes
You can’t expect a picky eater to change their habits in a day; however, you can introduce changes gradually. For instance, find a meal that they really like and replace one ingredient. Instead of serving the chicken with mashed potatoes, try doing it with spinach.
Start with small amounts and make sure they get at least a bite. The kids might try to push you here and go a few days without eating. Be firm and tell them that while they don’t have to eat what you made, that is the only thing that is being served and that they will get no replacement. Moreover, looking for ways to make food fun for kids is also something to consider. You can draw faces on their food or make it super colourful.
Involve them in the cooking process
Another thing you can do is involve your kids in the cooking process. Regardless of whether you cook every day or do meal prep on the weekends, think about how the kids can help you.
Let them peel or chop veggies, tell them to read you the recipe or something similar. By seeing how much effort you put into cooking, they might appreciate their meals more while helping you will show them what actually goes into their meals.
Teach them which foods are a priority
If you also take them shopping with you, you will get a chance to teach them how to read the labels and find the right food. It’s vital that they learn which foods they need to consume regularly. Meat is a great source of protein but kids need to understand that processed meats are simply not as healthy.
So, if you turn to butcher shops like Sutcliffe Meats, you can ensure you get fresh, ethically sourced and affordable meat. Then, leafy greens and colourful fruits and veggies, as well as some unusual items like artichokes and Brussels sprouts, are also vital for getting the important vitamins and minerals.
…and which ones to mostly avoid
In addition to processed meats, you’d also want to avoid unnecessary sugars and junk food. For example, instead of sugary drinks, go for water. Instead of junk food, get some healthy snacks for the house. When kids go looking for a snack and they only find healthy stuff, they might actually reach for it and give it a go.
Think about some treats that also have nutritional value, like chocolate milk which offers calcium and protein. Of course, you don’t have to completely cut out junk food – once in a while, we all like to eat some chips.
Have family meals
You need to set a good example for your kids in order to encourage them to eat healthier. That is why you should have family meals where they can see you eating the same foods you are offering to them. You cannot expect them to eat something you won’t or stop them from drinking soda if you’re not willing to stop too.
Keep these meals pleasant and conversational and give your kids enough time to eat slowly. There is no need to rush because that might lead to overeating. Plus, avoid eating in front of the TV as it often distracts from the meal and we tend to eat more than we need.
Finally, as much as you’d like your kids to eat healthily, it’s important to let them make their own choices and decide when they are hungry. However, by having healthy snacks around instead of junk food, you will ensure they are on their way to a much healthier diet.