Trying to get your family to eat healthily often feels like an uphill battle. Everywhere you, and more importantly your kids, look there are advertisements for chips, candy bars, sodas, fast food and every other tempting treat society has to offer. This is why it seems preschoolers recognize more fast food brands than vegetables. Like I said, it’s an uphill battle.
But there is hope, and you can do things to get your kids to eat the foods you know they need to be healthy and strong. However, sometimes you need to think outside the box, and I’m going to give you a few creative ways to get around the many things tempting your kids into eating unhealthy foods.
Before we talk about tricks for your children, though, remember you are your child’s benchmark. If you want your children to eat healthily, it will be a lot easier if you eat the same things they do, particularly if you regularly eat as a family. Remember, “Monkey See, Monkey Do.”
Also, if your kids reject something, you need to keep trying to introduce it, as this may be just their way of testing boundaries. Getting your kids to eat healthily requires persistence, but it is more than possible. Let’s take a look.
Substitute the Good for the Bad
Suddenly removing some of your kids’ favorite foods from the pantry might not be the best way to get them to eat healthier. Instead, make small adjustments to some favorite recipes. For example, instead of frying foods, try grilling. Or, when you make pancakes, leave out the sugar, flour and butter and use bananas. Doing these little things will not sacrifice taste, but will be much healthier. After some time, you could reveal to your kids what you’ve done, but in the beginning, you’ll be getting them to eat healthier without them really even knowing it.
Another way to get your kids to eat healthier is to hide quality ingredients they might not normally eat by preparing the meal in a different way. For this, a slow cooker can be a real life saver. You can make stews or soups, or even tacos and curries. Since foods break down when they are cooked slowly, you can throw in all sorts of vegetables, and your kids won’t even know.
This is also a great option for familes since it allows you to prepare meals while you’re not around. You can get everything ready and then leave the food cooking. This way your kids might not see what goes into it, which allows you to keep up the secrecy and make sure they are eating healthily. Cooking like this also saves a ton of time, meaning being busy won’t prevent your family from eating well.
Getting Your Kids Involved
One of the more successful methods I’ve used to get my kids to eat healthily is to cook with them. If they feel a part of the process, they are much more likely to want to try the food later on, even if it includes healthy foods they might not normally eat. There are loads television programs out there aimed specifically at introducing kids to cooking. For example, the BBC’s “I Can Cook” uses songs and other games to help make cooking fun. You can watch it, as well as other BBC kids programs, online, even if you don’t live in the UK.
Turn it Into a Game
With all the advertising, it can feel like modern technology is the enemy. However, there are ways to turn technology into an advantage. Healthy eating games and apps help turn nutrition into something fun so that kids open up to the idea of eating fruits and vegetables, instead of running from them in fear.
Make it Easy
The secret to developing any healthy habit is convenience. If candy and chips are easy to get, that’s what your kids will eat. So, take away these unhealthy snacks and replace them with fruits, veggies, nuts or any other healthy snack. Keep them in the kitchen, dining room or near the TV so that your kids are never too far from something healthy.
In general, getting your kids to eat healthy can be a real challenge. However, if you implement these creative tricks, you’ll find your kids much more open to the idea of eating healthy food instead of junk. After some time, you can reveal your tricks and start to have more open discussions about nutrition, but until then, you might need to be a bit sneaky to make sure your kids are eating what’s best for them.
Do you have any tricks or tips for getting your fussy eater to eat healthily? How about a healthy recipe your family can’t get enough of? Leave a comment below, and if you found this article helpful, share it so that we can all help our kids eat better.
About the Author: Cassie is a nurse and a mom. She has always been dedicated to making sure her family eats well but knows this is not easy. Over the years, she has developed some creative tricks but is always learning and sharing new ways to incorporate nutritious food into the family diet.