I myself was a not-so healthy eater up until a few years ago. Healthy eating is not just a “diet”, it must become a way of life, and it must be learned. It’s so much easier if you are just training yourself, but when it comes to the family, it is much more of a challenge to get everyone on board. I have put together five simple tips on teaching healthy eating in your family:
1. Eat Family Dinners: Eating together gives you the best opportunity to lead by example. Everyone eats the same foods and it even gives you a chance to talk about your dinner. Ask your kids about the veggies they are eating. For little ones, even something as simple as talking about the color or shape. For bigger kids, talk about where it’s grown and why it’s good for you.
2. Healthy Snacks: Leave healthy snacks out on the counter for easy access. If we have a plate of carrots and dip out before dinner, it’s usually gone by the time the meal is ready. Serve those same carrots with dinner and they only eat a few. I love the “Eat the Rainbow” idea found here at Inner Child Food. We tend to pick a color each night and work through the rainbow during the week!
3. Let Your Kids Pick: Create meal plans and let the kids have a night or two where they are in charge of picking either the whole dinner or pick the veggie of the day. If they are an active part of it, they are more likely to eat it!
4. Grow it Yourself: Why does everything that a kid grows themselves suddenly taste wonderful? I’m not sure, but it seems to be true. Let them plant, tend and pick their own fruits and veggies and they will most likely eat them all too! If you don’t have space outdoors, try something like this kids garden kit found at Amazon: (affiliate link) Toysmith Garden Root Viewer
5. Play: One of my kids favorite things to do is play restaurant. They look through the kitchen and create a menu of entrees and a side dish, and then let Mom and Dad pick what we would like. They “cook” it (sometimes with help) and serve it. Watch how creative they can be and you will be surprised at what they are willing to eat when they put it all together. Let them dress the part, too, with a Child Chef Apron Set (affiliate link).
Happy Healthy Eating!