9 Kid-Approved Tricks To Get Your Children To Eat Healthier Foods
Getting your kids to eat healthy when they are constantly exposed to ads for junk food or unhealthy readymade snacks can be a real battle.
Children also learn unhealthy eating habits from their peers at school. They will see many of these foods in their friends’ lunch boxes and will naturally want the same. Add in your own busy lifestyle, and it’s easy to fall back on convenience and fast foods.
There is plenty of research to show that healthy eating helps children to avoid obesity and some diseases such as childhood diabetes, stabilizes their moods and energy levels, and improves their ability to concentrate.
So how can you get them onboard?
Try these tricks:
1. Set a Schedule for Meals and Snack Times
Children’s dietary needs are different to adults, especially young children. Most kids need to eat at least every four hours: three meals, two snacks and plenty of healthy fluids.
A regular schedule helps keep foods more balanced and prevents them from rummaging for quick fixes that often result in eating junk foods. It also makes sure they have lots of energy for school and play.
4. Practice What You Preach and Be a Positive Role Model
Children learn by example, and if have inconsistent eating habits or are always dieting, your children will likely mimic you. Think about the kinds of food messages you're sending. Your approach to healthy food can influence your child’s attitude. Be sure you’re setting a good example!
5. Get Your Kids Involved in Preparing and Cooking Meals
Children are much more likely to give something new a try if they helped to prepare it. Get them involved and let them have fun with it by asking them to help you cut up vegetables (if age appropriate), measure ingredients, toss a salad or mix a something.
6. Introduce New Foods Slowly and Don’t Force Your Kids to Eat Them
Children are suspicious of new foods, and it may take several attempts before they are willing to try them. Forcing children to eat something can create an aversion to that food.
Try to be as neutral as possible. Telling your children they “must” eat something will only cause them to resist.
7. Let Your Children Make Up Their Own Plates
While it may be easier to pile up healthy food on your children’s plate, letting them take control is another way to give them some autonomy. Let your child decide what and how much they want to eat based on the choices available. They are more likely to try new foods if you don’t force it.
Give them plenty of variety and let them choose which vegetable or fruit they want to eat. Kids are much more likely to try something if it is their idea. The choice between apple slices and celery with peanut butter will give your child a bit of independence while still allowing you control of their nutrition.
8. Make Mealtime Fun, Especially for Younger Children
For younger children cut heart or star shaped sandwiches or toast with cookies cutters. Add raisins to celery and peanut butter to make ants on a log. Make smiley-face wholemeal pancakes. Give foods funny names too, like calling broccoli baby trees.
Children will enjoy food more that ignites their imagination.
9. Have theme nights
Mexican, Italian, or Asian themes can involve kids in planning and preparing these meals. It can also help them extend their palate while they learn about other countries.
Add extra fun with colourful plates and glasses. Party hats and favours will make this night extra special, and you may find your kids waiting for the next one!
Kindermeals provides delicious and healthy plant-based lunches that are delivered directly to schools.
Our service provides one to five plant-based meals a week. If fully adopted, nearly one-fourth of the meals they have in a month (21 out of 90) will be plant-based choices that will impact their mental and physical health and help reduce their carbon footprint.