6 Creative Ways to Help Kids Eat Healthy
The cartoon character Popeye encourages kids to eat their vegetables. His go to food is spinach, which makes Popeye strong. Unfortunately, although kids might love to see Popeye eat spinach on TV, in reality, most kids don’t eat like Popeye. It can be a challenge to figure out how to encourage your kids to choose healthier foods when all they seem to want is junk. Here are six creative ways you can try.
1. Get Them Involved
Kids usually want to be a part of everything you’re doing. Why not get them involved when you shop for food? Take them with you. Spend some time in each aisle and talk about healthy food options. Let them choose what they would like from there, then move on. You should also involve them in food preparation at home. Get them to help you measure ingredients, peel carrots, or cut up fruits. Since they prepared the food, they will be more excited to eat it.
2. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Children will generally eat whatever is within their reach. If you have nothing but chips, candy, and cookies in the house, that is what they will go for. However, if you only buy fruits, yogurt, nuts and other healthy snacks, your children will eat more healthy foods.
3. Introduce New Foods Gradually
Sometimes parents expect their kids to sit at the dinner table and eat a full plate of veggies. That is unlikely to happen, especially if you are newly introducing healthy eating in your house. Instead, sneak in healthy foods gradually in smaller portions like apple slices, a banana, yogurt, or veggies dipped in delicious sauces. The kids will learn to like healthier foods without feeling pressured.
4. Make Smoothies
Almost everybody loves smoothies, including kids, because they are delicious and refreshing. You can put all kinds of healthy stuff in a smoothie such as kale, spinach, carrots, or fruits, adding some sweet yogurt, flavored protein powder, or fruit juice to make the smoothie taste a little more kid friendly.
5. Add Healthy Mix-Ins
Pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies are always a hit with kids. While these foods might look unhealthy, you can add healthy mix-ins when cooking them to boost their nutritional content. For example, you can add protein powder, soy milk, berries, or nuts to the mix and use whole grain flour over processed white flour, for a healthier treat.
6. Find Alternatives to Favorite Foods
Another great way to encourage healthy eating is to substitute some unhealthy foods with similar options that are much healthier. Look for alternatives that your kids will still enjoy eating. For example, you can use whole wheat buns to make burgers instead of white, or roast potato wedges in the oven with vegetable oil instead of buying French fries.
While these creative ways will help your kids eat healthier, it’s important to know that kids do what they see. As a parent, it’s your job to be an example of healthy eating as well, eating healthy foods together as a family.