Are your kids picky eaters? Is it always a struggle to get them to eat healthier foods? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Most kids would rather have treats and candy instead of carrots and peanuts. Hopefully these simple steps will help you AND your kids eat a little bit healthier, without tears!
Keep Healthy Food on Hand and in View: The first big step to helping your kids eat healthy is to actually have those options in your home. Make a list of healthier options and buy them at a store. Then set them out in view. One easy option is to get a fruit basket and set it on the counter. When your kids get hungry have that be the first option. In the refrigerator and pantry, put healthier snacks at their eye level. Keep unhealthy snacks and treats tucked away. Out of site out of mind!
Make a Schedule: It seems kids like to eat all day long. Make a time when you have your meals and snacks. Kids tend to eat every 3 hours or so. Try making the healthy snacks BEFORE they are truly hungry. When we get hungry we tend to grab the first thing available and that’s not usually the healthiest option. If your kids ask for food in-between those times, have them drink water instead. If they truly eat every 3 hours they shouldn’t need to snack in-between.
Sneak it in: If they don’t know it’s there it can’t hurt, right? Think about adding spinach to smoothies, green peppers to omelets, fruit into yogurt. This way they can be getting those extra nutrients without even knowing it.
Praise Instead of Nag: Children remember when they are praised far more than they remember when we nag them. When you see your child with an apple or carrots, be sure to praise them and compliment them on their choice. They will remember that and go for those options in the future. That being said, when you see them grab a more unhealthy choice, be sure not to nag them. Maybe give them suggestions of healthier options the next time they are hungry.
Be Consistent: Having healthier options over and over again will help the kids make it a habit. That’s the goal right? However, is our job as parents to set those schedule, have the options, and cheer them on. Remember what you buy, they will eat. So consistently buying fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low sugar treats, and other healthy options will help start this healthy eating.