It’s not often you hear a child ask for more spinach or exclaim, “Yay for broccoli!” In fact, it can feel like an impossible battle trying to get kids to eat healthy. The comforting news is, there are things parents and caregivers can do to encourage good eating habits in their kids and to get them excited about nutrition, despite their young age.
Getting Kids to Eat Healthy
Let Kids Help with the Cooking
While being close to the stove can be dangerous for young children, older children can help with easy tasks such as stirring and prep work. Make sure you have good non-stick cookware sets so kids don’t have to struggle with stirring food on the stove.
For younger kids, let them assemble easy appetizers like ants on a log, and be sure to discuss how important the foods they’re using are to their bodies for good health. The more hands-on your kids are during the preparation of meals, the more likely they are to eat everything they’ve made.
Choose Healthy Snacks
Kids love snack time, making it the perfect opportunity to introduce new, healthy options. Offer things like crunchy kale chips or dried mango slices to entice hungry tummies. Chances are your kids will be so thrilled with snack time that they won’t even mind that the food they’re eating is good for them.
Make Food Presentation Fun
They say presentation is everything, and when it comes to enticing youngsters to eat healthily, you may have to get creative with how you serve their food. For example, make boring old apple slices fun by spreading them with peanut butter and adding raisins for eyes and a smile.
Another cute way to entice kids to eat healthily is to decorate their plates with brightly colored fruits and veggies, creating crazy faces or spelling out fun words with the foods. If you’re stumped for ideas, you can find plenty of cool food-art projects online. You’re sure to find a few healthy options your kids will love to eat.
Grow Your Own Food
If you have the space, plant a garden that you and your kids can tend and harvest. When kids learn about how veggies grow and have an active role in caring for the plants throughout their growing cycles, they gain a sense of excitement from wanting to taste and eat what they’ve harvested.
If you don’t have room for an entire garden, try a simple experiment like sprouting an avocado seed or growing tomato plants in containers in the backyard.
Find a Fruit or Veggie Influencer
What kid doesn’t like video games, cartoons, and jokes? You can use their love of all things crazy and digital by finding some fruit or veggie characters that can help teach them about nutrition and present them with fun things to watch and cool exercises to do. Basically, you’re disguising online tutoring about nutrition as gaming. Of course, as with all video games and TV entertainment, moderation is important, but if it gets your kids excited about nutrition, it’s worth the screen time.
Getting kids to eat things that are good for them and be excited about nutrition is a Herculean feat for most parents. The good news, however, is that if you follow the tips above, it might be easier than you think to get kids excited about nutrition after all. Make eating and preparing food fun and watch your kids start making healthier food choices.