7 Easy Ways to Get Your Kids Eating Healthier, & How You Can Benefit!

Getting children to eat a healthy diet is a battle that every parent faces. But have no fear! Here are a few easy concepts that you can implement to get your kids eating healthier in no time:

1. Add the Good Stuff In, Crowd the Bad Stuff Out:

If you are concerned that your child is already accustom to eating a good deal of unhealthy foods – no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get them to eat healthy foods – this should be a helpful step for you. Take the one or two veggies and fruits that they DO like, and start serving those more often. Slowly make the portions of these fruits and veggies larger, while making that serving of mac & cheese smaller. Over time, the healthy food becomes the main dish, while the unhealthy side become miniscule.

*Added Benefit for You: You’ll start to notice your own plate. Our dishes should be colorful – the more color, the more variance in nutrients. Fruit, grain, and green vegetable items should crowd out the large servings of meat, starchy vegetables, and processed foods.

2. Hide the Healthy Food:

Always keep something healthy visible on their plate. It is important that your kids understand having healthy food on their plate is normal, BUT you can always use a food processor to chop, grind and juice vegetables into unnoticeable bits to scatter them among the unhealthy foods. Also, experiment with adding healthier foods into staple dishes, such as adding leafy greens into a sandwich or making a dessert like strawberry shortcake rather than double chocolate cake.

*Added Benefit for You: As their food gets healthier, so will yours. Make sure to follow suit and add in more vegetables to your meals as well.

3. Clean the Pantry:

If you don’t buy it, it’s not there to eat! Take a good look a what is in your pantry now, and decide what you really want your kids to be eating. Phase out some of the chips, cookies, crackers, sugary cereals, candy, and cakes to make room for the healthier foods. Keep the junk food out of sight, and out of reach. This way, your children won’t think to ask for it as often, and when they do, you are in charge of when and how much they have. Put healthy, easy to grab snacks at their eye level in the pantry and the refrigerator.

*Added Benefit for You: Out of sight, out of mind! If you don’t see all that junk food, you won’t reach for it as often either. Plus, cleaning out the pantry of all that unhealthy food will help you realize you’re truly making some changes and accomplishing your goals.

4. Educate!:

Kids are smarter than they might seem sometimes. Give them a chance to understand that food is fuel, and just like a car runs better with high-quality gas, humans function better with high-quality foods in their diets. Give them examples of a diet their favorite athlete, cartoon character, or role model might eat. Have them help make a healthy grocery list and tell you why they think the foods they choose are good for them. Let your children have a vested interest in what foods you buy and how you cook the food. Allow and encourage them to help in the kitchen as often as possible so that they have a better understanding of what they are putting in their bodies.

*Added Benefit for You: In order to educate your kids, you’ll first have to educate yourself. Learning what foods are good for you and why, strongly influences your choices. Next time you reach for a cookie, you’ll stop and remember why that isn’t such a good idea. Also, you’ll have accountability with your children as they will ask you why you’re eating that cookie! (Plus, the help in the kitchen will take a bit of the burden off of you!)

5. Give them a Choice:

Many times, food is the only thing children feel they have any control over. Everyone else makes their decisions for them. Now that they are a bit more educated about food, give them 2 or 3 choices as to what you might prepare for them. This way, they don’t feel you’re forcing healthy food down their throats – literally. And occasionally, do give them the choice of their favorite unhealthy food. This way they won’t go crazy eating junk food at Johnny’s house when they finally get the chance. And you never know, they might surprise you and say no thanks!

*Added Benefit for You: Fewer arguments about what to eat means more time for you. More time for you means being able to focus on what foods you want to eat, rather than what food you have time to stuff in your mouth before the next thing on your agenda.

6. Be a Role Model:

Kids always want what you have. You’re their hero – well, some of the time – and they want to be like you. Keep your portions down, eat more leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats, and they will follow your example. On the other hand, if you’re sitting on the couch with a bag of chips in your hand, they’ll be right there with you. You don’t have to be perfect, but try to make those less healthy choices when the kids aren’t around!

*Added Benefit for You: Knowing your children are looking to you to set a good example will probably be the biggest motivating factor for you. You’ll be shocked how quickly you whip into shape knowing that their little eyes are watching your every move at the dinner table.

7. When All Else Fails, You’re In Charge:

Never forget the fact that you are the parent. You are allowed to make decisions for your child. In fact, it’s part of your job description. Tell them “once you eat ___, then you can have ___.” Why? “Because I’m your mom, and I am looking out for your health.”

*Added Benefit for You: Empowerment. As well as the chance to show your children that with every choice you make for them about their diets, that you are doing it with love, not in attempt to control or torture them.

Don’t get overwhelmed. This is a large undertaking and will take some time, but slowly, you will start to see major shifts in your children’s diets as well as your own. This will lead to better moods, higher energy, weight-loss, better skin, healthier bodies, and the list goes on… Good luck and bravo on making the effort to improve your family’s health!


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