Since starting my blog the number one question I’ve heard is, “Do your kids eat that?” or “How do I get my kids to eat that?” I wanted this blog to be more than just recipes, so I’m happy to share my tips and tricks for getting my kids to eat healthy food. Now I want to put a disclaimer out there, I’m not an expert and what works for my kids may not work for yours, but I wanted to share anyway in hopes that it may help another parent with getting their kids to eat a healthier diet.
Here are 7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy Food
1. They eat what we eat or nothing at all
Now I know this sounds harsh, but I promise you’ll only have to do it once, if that. Honestly, I don’t think I ever had to send my kids to bed without food. If they pitched a fit, I would stand my ground and walk away from the table to where they couldn’t see me to fuss at me. Sometimes it took awhile (and some tears), but they always ended up eating.
2. They must take a couple bites of each food on their plate
It’s give and take around here. If you want me to read you a bedtime story, then you have to take 3 bites of your brussel sprouts. If you want to watch a movie, then you have to take 3 bites of your cauliflower. Even if they don’t like something, they still have to try it every time we have it in hopes that they will get used to the taste and eating vegetables on a regular basis.
3. Let them help you cook
If you are like me, this takes a ton of patience. However, it is the most effective approach in my house. My daughter loves to help with anything, especially cooking. We’ve peeled brussel sprouts together, basted cauliflower with olive oil using a basting brush, stirred blueberries into gluten free muffins, or even added in a teaspoon of salt here and there. The key here is to give her all the credit for making the meal. Tell her you are so excited to try it and how it good it is when you taste it. It will make her excited about it too. Soon she’ll be imitating you in her toy kitchen, making you all kinds of food to try.
4. Talk to them about making healthy choices
I would say by the time they are 3 you can really start to carry on a conversation with your kids and explain what’s healthy and what’s not in a way they can understand. For example, my daughter is having some issues with gluten. I explain to her if she has something with gluten in it that it might make her tummy hurt. She seems to be okay with me providing an alternative option because she doesn’t want her tummy to hurt. I like to think that associating unhealthy food with feeling bad will set the foundation for her to make good food choices on her own one day.
5. Try to limit the fillers in their diet
By fillers I mean bread, cheese, juice, and processed food. Now I know this hard and no fun, but these types of foods don’t offer alot of nutritional value and fill them up so much they won’t even look at anything else. If possible, I suggest trying to feed them as many fruits, vegetables, and lean meats (fish/chicken) as soon as they are able to eat table food to set a good foundation. You may be afraid they won’t like it, but you just never know until you try.
6. Hide healthy food in their favorite foods
You can hide all kinds of stuff in smoothies, muffins, pancakes, egg muffins, meatloaf or sauces. For example, our smoothies include avocado, bananas, spinach, strawberries and blueberries. I even hide spinach in our egg muffins and meatloaf.
7. Smother their veggies in butter
The media would have you believe that butter is the enemy, but more and more research is showing that it may actually be a super food. Any time I smother my vegetables in butter, bacon fat, or even coconut butter, they get eaten without a fuss.
What are your tips for getting your kids to eat healthier?