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Four Ways for Kids to Like Eating Healthy

As a child, my mother was loving, thoughtful and wise, though the absolute strictest in the neighborhood. So as a result, I was naturally a semi-rebellious teen. She also served home cooked meals most nights and made us drink a cup of milk at each meal. Just to make her mad, I pushed for eating Hungry-Man salisbury steaks and diet soda whenever possible.

Now that I’m a parent, I often think about how I can motivate my son to make healthy choices. How do I find a balance between being “that parent” that doesn’t allow her kid to eat any junk food to one that feels defeated and serves whatever the child claims they will eat?

Let’s just say, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m trying. From all I’ve learned the past few years about the importance of eating clean for disease prevention, my goal is to find a number of healthy foods that my son will eat. This way, if he eats enough wholesome plant-based choices throughout the day, the junk foods are merely “sometimes foods”. Below are a few life hacks for getting kids to eat healthy. I spoke to WTNH’s Teresa Dufour on CT Style about these tips and showcased the ideas.

Four Ways for Kids to Like Eating Healthy

Four Ways to Help Kids Eat Healthy and Like It

 

1. Let Kids Select Healthy Foods to Eat

We know kids like choice. So whether it’s at the grocery store or the farmer’s market, letting them pick out a few different fruits and vegetables may motivate them to eat more. I often ask my son to take photos of the healthy items at Whole Foods. It’s a way to help him recognize wholesome, nutrient dense foods and how they come in various bright colors. I sometimes use these pictures for the blog. I encourage others to have fun with this. Many people have Facebook and Instagram accounts, so I challenge you to showcase yours there.

2. Enjoy Social Media Challenges – #OneNewFood or Wellness Wednesday efforts

Pick a day a week (aka Wellness Wednesday) to try a new healthy recipe or hearty nutrient rich food item with your family. A blogging partnership between MommyInSports and OhHonestly created a #OneNewFood challenge. The goal is to pick an item and serve it a few different ways throughout the week. Think zucchini as zoodles, raw with dip or in a muffin. If you don’t have time to make it a weekly affair, trying one thing different may see a positive change. Or if not, try adding veggies to otherwise liked food.

3. Mask the Veggies

I get it, not every kid will eat raw veggies. So I buy or create dips to mask the strong vegetable taste. Some health advocates will disagree with this strategy, urging kids to learn how to love their veggies. I’m just trying to present options knowing that some families just want to make progress. I use several different “dips” with carrots including sun butter, Greek yogurt dressing and guacamole. I also love smoothies and will throw vegetables with mild flavors like cauliflower and butternut squash into them.

4. Find Fancy Presentations

Sometimes presentation is everything or at least can be helpful. Many of these creative ideas can be found easily on Pinterest. Here are my favorite easy food tricks: Buy small cookie cutters to create shapes out of watermelon and cantaloupe. Make fresh fruit kabobs, watermelon pizza or  fruit and veggies sandwiches with dips in between. If prep time is an issue, just use fancy china or a cool wine glass and serve parfaits or fresh fruit, so that the kids will feel like it’s a special treat.

Please share with us what obstacles do you face when trying to eat healthy?

Check us out below on CT Style’s “Mommy Monday” talking about kids and healthy eating tips.

10 Comments

  1. I am totally rejuvenated this week to start #onenewfood again. We are not having any dessert this week, and then Friday we are going to make grilled peaches and homemade banana “ice” cream, aka frozen pureed bananas. I want them to taste natures sugar and not be reliant on sugar anymore. Thanks for re-invigorating me!
    Kristen recently posted…Amanda Bingson Strips Away Body Shame

    • I’ve never had peaches on the grill. Sounds amazing because I know grilled mangos are a sweet delicacy. About the frozen banana ice cream. Do you freeze the bananas first then puree or puree then freeze?

  2. My parents did it ALL WRONG when I was younger, hence my never eating any vegetables, EVER…… I HATED EVERYTHING because they would FORCE IT upon me! However, now… I ADORE veggies and healthy food, but back then, I even ran away from home because I didn’t wanna eat salmon! :o
    GiGi Eats recently posted…NO “BULLOCKS” with Christine Bullock!

    • I HATED fish, too. My mom would make orange roughy and it stunk up the house. She didn’t force it, just made only healthy options available. I’ve really grown out of being a sweet tooth now. I now crave roasted and sautéed veggies.

  3. I love this post! So many great tips and take-away points.

    I love your tip about fancy presentation. My kids do not like salad if I put it in front of them but if I do a salad “bar” they go crazy over it and have at least two servings!

    Thanks for sharing! I pinning this to my Deliberate HEALTH board. (Talk about tough decisions… health, kids, food, or parenting board)?! lol

    Wishing you a lovely evening.
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…This is Why I Don’t Invite You to My House

    • Thanks. I do try hard to prepare healthy options. I’ve also gotten to a place where my son does see me as an authority on all things healthy. I love your salad bar idea. I haven’t tried it and will. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week.

  4. Your mom sounds like my kind of mom! Blech, Hungry Man! Still right there with your Mom. I love your tips, there really has to be a balance in the process. I used to have a neighbor whose mother never let her eat sweets. So she just came over to my house and tanked up and went home with her mom none the wiser! Since I don’t want that I will need to work on my masking and fancy preperation!
    Jen recently posted…That Day I Froze And A Discussion On Anatomy

    • I sound a little like your neighbor. When I was really young, my favorite play dates were the ones with my friends who had the most junk food for snack. Silly, I know. I sure did grow to love Rice Krispie treats and marshmallow fluff in a can. Adding veggies to baking is really easy. I actually love smoothies, too. Adding cauliflower and butternut squash is easy and doesn’t often change the taste of a muffin or smoothie. Have a great weekend.

  5. I need to try some of these ideas. Nick is pretty picky about food. I will say I can get him to eat food well, but the rest…. *sigh.* He is getting better though, so some of these ideas might work.
    Elizabeth (Rock-A-Bye Parents) recently posted…10 Ways To Save On Walt Disney World Dining Costs

    • Yay. I hope some of these idea help you and your family. If Nick is a picky eater, try masking the foods. Add a few veggie purees to his favorite mac and cheese recipe or pizza sauce. Good luck.

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