It can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy foods these days. Broccoli doesnít usually rank high on the list and unfortunately healthy foods often seem to be their least favourites. They would rather eat candy, cookies, ice cream, cakes, and all the other junk than sink their teeth into some good ole broccoli. It is even harder when television, commercials, school cafeterias, and even family events promote these unhealthy snack foods and treats. But there are things you can do.
Trying to eat healthy should not be stressful. It does however; mean some changes in how we cook, how we shop and even how we eat. It is possible though to get your kids to eat healthier and it is probably easier than we think, it just requires commitment and a little patience.
One way is to make the foods taste good. They have many tasty competitors on the market so taste is important. There are a lot of ways you can do this without making them unhealthy. You can add cheese to a lot of foods to make them taste good. Most vegetables would be good with cheese, just melt a bit of cheese and pour it on top of the veggies. You can also add natural sweeteners to foods like honey instead of using refined sugars. There are spices you can add to food too that do not have any MSG or salt in them. You have to read the ingredients carefully, but it will make the food you eat healthy and yummy.
You can also encourage them to eat fruits, especially their favourites. This isn't usually too difficult to do because they are already sweet and/or sour and these are two tastes kids love. One thing you can do is switch up the fruits available to them. Get some apples and oranges one week, grapes and pears another week, and plums and peaches another week. By switching it up they are more apt to eat all of the fruits every week. Put them in a big bowl on the kitchen table or counter and make them accessible for snacks. Cutting them into shapes with cookie cutters can make snack time especially fun. This works great for fruit such as watermelon. Dips are great for both fruits and vegetables.
Another tactic that works is to eat healthy foods yourself. Like it or not we are our kidís role models and if we want them to behave a certain way, we should behave that way as well. Whether it be foods we eat, things we say or the actions we take, they are going to learn from us. So, make sure you have healthy foods on your plate at meal time, and they see you eating them.
There is a lot to say about how you shop. The first thing to do is to not go when you are hungry or craving. When you do that you will fill the cart with everything possible, and most of it will taste really good, which could mean it is really bad for you.
Instead shop after dinner or another meal and try to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store to get fresh and healthy foods for your family. You might also try shopping a grocery store that offers a natural and organic area to shop for condiments, and boxed foods. If possible, involve your children in the grocery shopping. Give them choices between healthy options, for example you can ask: Do you want broccoli or cauliflower, apples or pears?
Also try to seek out new healthy recipes to keep things interesting. You can make honey pancakes, put chopped up broccoli in your macaroni and cheese and more. Kids canít even tell when you add pureed squash into macaroni and cheese. Keeps things fun and be excited about the healthy meals. Give the dishes a name. We have party rice, which is rice cooked up with colourful vegetables chopped up in small pieces. There is always such excitement over cakes and ice creams, so we need to crank it up a notch for our healthy meals as well.
With a little planning your children will be eating healthy in no time and that will make everyone happy and healthy.