Last updated on December 20th, 2021 at 12:42 am
You’d be hard pressed to find a parent who couldn’t care less about their child’s eating habits. We all long for our kids to eat well. We all know the difference between healthy foods and junk foods.
You don’t need to read another article about what your kids should or shouldn’t be eating. But what we all could still use some help with is how to encourage our kids to eat what they should be eating. Through a lot of research and my own experience, here are some tips for doing just that.
Raising Good Eaters–
Keep healthy foods readily available.
Have produce washed and ready to grab out of the fridge. Store it in glass containers at eye level so if your child opens the fridge, the easiest option is the healthy option! Display foods that don’t need to be refrigerated in a pretty fruit bowl or basket out on your counter or as a table centerpiece. You may notice yourself grabbing the healthy stuff more often too.
Normalize healthy foods.
Raising good eaters means including fruits and veggies in every meal and snack. Even if you’re on the go, things like washed grapes, carrot and celery sticks, and mixed nuts can all be tossed into small baggies to enjoy on the way out the door.
Sometimes it’s just so much easier to serve the same thing every day, especially for breakfast and lunch. But this is only contributing to the pickiness of our kids. Mix things up as best you can, even if you stay within their basic likes. When a new food is introduced on occasion, it won’t be quite as big of a deal when your kids are already used to seeing different foods at every meal.Raising Good Eaters -- Helping Your Kids Grow up to Enjoy a Variety of Healthy Foods | #healthyeating #kids #health #food #parenting #parentingtips Click To Tweet
Talk about your food.
If your kids are anything like mine, they may decide they don’t like something long before I’ve even finished making dinner. Use your five senses to discuss the food you’ve served them. And evaluate together what they think about it. You’ll come away from conversations like this with a better understanding of why your kids are picky about certain foods.
Quit the grazing.
Institute certain times and places for eating. You’ll be teaching your kids to eat for hunger rather than out of boredom when they can’t access food any time they simply feel like it. They’ll also avoid mindless eating when they aren’t plopped in front of the TV with a bag of chips. Sometimes the biggest issue with pickiness is our kids never actually being hungry enough to eat what we serve them!
Introduce new foods.
I’ve been guilty of just assuming my kids wouldn’t like Brussel sprouts, for example, so I didn’t bother offering them. We should ease our kids into trying new foods, but we shouldn’t get stuck assuming we already know what they’ll end up enjoying or rejecting. As you try new foods in your family, start with things that are similar to what your kids already like and work your way out gradually.
Be the example.
So much more is caught than taught. Adopt these healthy habits in your own life and you’ll be more likely to see the same habits forming in your children’s lives.
Maybe the best advice is: Don’t get discouraged! Raising good eaters is not easy. Every kid is different. For some, healthy eating has never been a big issue. For others, teaching them healthy habits feels like an impasse. Avoid comparing one child to the next, and rather take the time to understand your picky eater. Invest time in making these changes, and you’ll be setting your children up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Find a lot more excellent advice on raising good eaters, check out Action for Healthy Kids.