Raising healthy eaters is not as difficult as some may think. It really comes down to some pretty simple and quite basic rules.
1. Buy the right foods.
Kids do not do the grocery shopping. If you don’t make healthy nutritious food available then kids will eat the garbage you do make available.
2. Cook the right foods the right way. You have to make healthy choices in how you prepare your food. Steamed cauliflower is nutritious where batter dipped deep fried cauliflower is not. And by the way, if you drown your steamed cauliflower with butter, you might as well have batter dipped and fried it.
3. Eat the right foods.
Model good behavior/good choices for your kids and they will follow suit.
4. Let them help prepare the meal.
We all know that kids that help prepare the meal are more likely to eat it. Give them an age appropriate role in meal prep.
5. Get excited about it.
I can almost always get my youngest to try something new by just exclaiming how good it is. Yesterday it was sweet peppers with sun dried tomato hummus.
“Oh my God. This is sooooo good. You want to try a taste? Not a big bite because I don’t want you to eat it all.”
6. Treats don’t always have to be sweet.
My oldest once ran through the house teasing his cousin because he got a treat and she didn’t.
“I got a cucumber! I got a cucumber!”
My friends always ask how I get my kids to eat the way they do, enjoying a variety of foods that kids tend to not like. And the best that I can say is that I feed it to them. My kids are expected to eat what I prepare for them. I know what particular foods each of them does not like and make sure to take that into consideration when planning the menu and making each of their plates. When my older two were young, I knew that the Man did not like macaroni and cheese and the Girl did not like cooked greens. So, when I made the two at the same meal, I gave each of them only a teaspoon or two of what they didn’t like and an oversized portion of what they did like. Now, with the Boy, he does not like cooked greens like his sister but he will eat them raw. So we eat them cooked and he eats them raw.
My children are healthy eaters because healthy eating is not a choice in my house. It is the standard set from the beginning and is one that is followed by everyone.
So, how do I do it? How do you not?