Do your kids hate healthy food? 6 ways to change their mind
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With numbers like these, it’s more important than ever to make healthy meals a part of your child’s daily routine. But getting your child to choose broccoli over French fries isn’t easy. The key? Getting your kids involved in meal preparation, cooking and generally interested in the food that goes into their bodies.
Cook together. Kids like to eat the food that they help prepare, so letting them shell peas, measure ingredients, and read the recipe can give them more time in the kitchen and allow them to take pride that they helped make breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here’s a great list of what kids can do to help with meal prep at every age.
Sit down for dinner. Make mealtime an event. Give everyone a special task (setting the table, filling the water cups, bringing out the food, etc.) and put all cell phones and tablets away. Making time to sit down for dinner allows you to talk, decompress from the day and more.
Talk healthy! Chatting about food gives you and your kids a chance to explore how food is made, where ingredients come from and the importance of eating well. Have conversations while you’re in the grocery store about fruits they’re curious about and encourage them to pick up fruits and veggies they want to incorporate in tomorrow’s lunch.
Plant a vegetable garden together. Giving your kids the responsibility of picking the ripe vegetables and letting them choose how to incorporate them into your meals gives them a sense of accomplishment and lets them get creative with how to use vegetables in their meals. The easiest vegetables to grow with kids are snap peas, cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers and potatoes. Here is more detail on how to garden with your kids.
Show them where produce comes from. Bringing your kids to the farmers market or taking a trip to a fruit picking farm gives them a visualization of how their food is grown (strawberries don’t grow in grocery store aisles, after all!). Here’s how to find the nearest farmers market.
Don’t go overboard. If you’re too strict on what your kids can and can’t eat, they’ll rebel. Give them healthy choices but also allow them to have a piece of candy every now and then. Teaching kids moderation is just as important as teaching them about healthy foods.
How do you incorporate healthy meals into your child’s life?