Wednesday, January 28, 2015
5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier -- S post
If there is one thing that parents can agree on, it’s finding ways to get their kids to eat healthier isn’t easy. Starting healthy habits at a young age is becoming easier with better snack options on the market, but it’s still important to know that there will always be battles because sometimes kids just want chicken nuggets.
A healthy eating lifestyle can be a challenge, even for adults, but it can be done, and yes, even be enjoyable! Here are five ways to get your kids started on the road to healthier eating.
#1: Sneak in some veggies without sacrificing the taste.
How do we get our kids to eat vegetables without facing a fight every meal? Kids love smoothies. Between the vivid colors and fresh flavors, smoothies are a sweet treat that make kids feel like they’re getting dessert when really they’re getting pumped full of vitamins and other healthy nutrients. Green smoothies can have as many as 3 or 4 servings of fruits and vegetables and your kids will never know that their drink contained spinach, kale, or other kinds of leafy greens.
The secret is that if you put in enough fruit, the taste will be sweet. Peaches, pineapple, and mango are good fruits to combine with your greens. Their sweetness is enough that you won’t need to add extra sugar, although you could add a splash of apple juice if you’d like to help things blend better.
#2: Invite them into the kitchen to cook with you.
Making kids part of the process gives them the chance to see what’s going into their meals and makes them more interested in eating what they’ve made. At the store, let them help you choose what produce you’ll be eating for the week. Help them plan a couple of recipes with you. Buy them their own apron.
Cooking at home is an activity you can do together and it avoids the chance of eating processed food when you pick up food on-the go, which is full of fat, sodium, and sugar.
#3: Keep plenty of healthy (and tasty) snacks on hand.
First of all, make sure you read labels because products can trick you into thinking you’re eating something healthy when really it’s full of sugar and empty calories. Fresh fruit, pretzels, or pita chips and hummus are much healthier than potato chips, candy, or fruit chews. Keep cut up carrot sticks, apples, and grapes in individual portions in the fridge, so that when you or the kids need to grab a snack, they’re reaching for a healthy option. There are also subscription services like NatureBox that deliver healthy snacks every month.
#4: Set a good example.
Introducing your kids to healthier eating means there needs to be a healthier lifestyle in place for your whole family. After all, it doesn’t quite make sense for you to encourage your kids to drink water, if all you drink is Diet Coke. Think of inventive ways to turn their favorite recipes into healthier options. For example, if they love spaghetti, use whole wheat pasta and ground turkey for a healthy swap.
#5. Let them learn visually.
Make eating healthy fun by creating a food pyramid. For one meal a week, let your kids choose what foods they want from each food group. You can make your own chart or order one online at a website like eSigns.com to help educate your kids and let them see what foods are good for them and what they need to grow up strong and healthy.
Cooking for kids can definitely be a challenge, especially if you are faced with pickier eaters, but remember it takes trial and error. Learn what foods your kids like and introduce them to new foods and flavors slowly. Make your meals tasty. As with anything, the more consistently it’s done the better chance you have for long-term success. There will most likely be meltdowns and setbacks, but taking those first steps is always what’s the hardest.