You know that your family could be eating healthier. Everyone in your house, especially the kids, relies too much on salty, sugary, fattening snacks, and you all go out to eat too often.
It is hard enough for you to motivate yourself to adopt healthier eating habits, and you dread trying to get your young children to follow suit. You certainly do not want to feel like the bad guy who is forcing them to give up their favorite treats for foods that they do not want.
You know that healthy eating is very important for the health of your kids. It will give them more energy, and will reduce the risk of them being or becoming overweight, which can lead to many different health problems later in life.
Below are some tips to make it fun and easy for you to transition your kids to healthy eating habits.
1. Make Gradual Changes
Most people are resistant to change, and this is especially true among children. Instead of shocking your kids by completely transforming all of your eating routines at once, make small, subtle changes.
Add fresh vegetable and/or fruit slices to your kids’ lunches, for example. After you begin to see which items they really like, stick with those and then start to remove an unhealthy part of the lunch that you usually include, such as a dessert or a bag of chips. Another great gradual change to make is to start cooking more meals at home, if you normally go out most nights.
2. Start a Garden
Let your kids plant their own fruits and vegetables. Gardening is a fantastic activity for children. They get to learn so much about nature, and about where food comes from. Throughout this process, you can teach them all about the importance of natural foods and how fresh foods have the greatest nutritional benefits. When kids get the experience of growing foods themselves, they become very invested in the project. They are responsible for these growing plants, and they want to see them thrive, and they want to be able to enjoy their finished products.
You, of course, also get the benefit of having delicious, fresh foods at your house, and you get to spend time bonding outdoors with your children.
3. Take Your Kids to a Farmer’s Market
Take your children shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables with you. Let them have more control over which fruits and vegetables they are willing to try, and let them make their own decisions. When you are shopping for fresh produce, there are no wrong choices. Without pressuring your children, encourage them to be adventurous when making selections.
4. Choose Kit-Friendly Recipes
Healthy eating does not have to mean complex cuisine or other dishes that are going to alienate or intimidate kids. When picking recipes that you want to try, stick to simple and recognizable dishes that will please family members of any age.
You can change the way your family eats, without scaring them off with unfamiliar meals, by simply buying fresh ingredients, and incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into the dishes. The simpler your dishes, the better. You do not have to overthink this process.
5. Give Your Kids Choices and Control
One of the best ways to make healthy eating fun for kids is to keep your kids as involved as possible in the process. Present your family with many different healthy options, and any decision that is made will be one for the better, and one that keeps your kids happy.