Any one who has raised small kids can tell you that getting them to eat healthy can often be a challenge. Some kids have healthier tastes than others and they actually enjoy green salads and liver spread, but most children resist anything that doesn’t come processed and prepackaged.
While we do want our little darlings to eat healthy, we can’t very well force feed them and pleading usually doesn’t work either. So how can we make it enjoyable and even fun for kids to eat healthy foods?
One way to make kids more interested is to involve them in the food preparation. For example, if you allow them to choose between apples or oranges when you go shopping, later they will probably be more willing to eat the fruit that they chose because THEY chose it. If they are older they can help by cutting bananas with a spoon to put on top of their wholegrain cereal, or help by stirring the cheese sauce for the celery sticks.
Story telling can also be quite effective when trying to convince a young child to eat something. Telling your child that the broccoli is actually trees and that they are a tree-eating giant can give your little tike enough motivation to finish their veggies. Food that ‘talks’ can also help make eating healthy foods more fun. A carrot that ‘begs’ your child to let him go to the party that’s going on his or her tummy will make your child squeal with laughter and eat something healthy.
Making the food ‘look’ fun can also do wonders. Try cutting up healthy whole grain sandwiches into stars, hearts or other fun shapes. You can also arrange the food on your child’s plate in a creative way. Use slices of tomatoes to make a ‘snowman’ figure, and then use baby carrots for arms. These tiny things can really make it easier for a little one to be interested in the food.
Trying new things is not always a strong point for children, but offering a variety of healthy foods increases your chances of finding something that your child really likes. Even if your child doesn’t take to a new food immediately, if you offer it often enough he or she may get used to it and eventually try it out.
Look for new ways to present healthy food. Trying new recipes can help make healthy foods more palatable for picky little eaters. Your child may hate steamed green beans, but if you sauté them with a little butter they might change the way they feel about green beans. Think about how you can make the food appetizing for your child.
Remember that your child doesn’t necessarily have to EAT his fruits and veggies. If it’s easier for him, he can drink them! You can make many delicious fruit and veggie smoothies that your children will love, and that will provide them with the same nutrients and goodness as the whole fruit or vegetable would.
These tips can really help to make eating healthy foods fun for your kids. Remember to practice what you preach, because kids often mimic the eating habits of their parents. If you routinely eat unhealthy foods in front of your children, then your children will see no reason why they should be eating food that they think is ‘yucky’. Make healthy choices in your own diet so that your children will also be able to enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.
About the Author
Joe Douglas holds a B.A in Literature and currently writes for Phoenix Kiosk, a kiosk manufacturer. He covers everything from outdoor kiosks to technology and education. Phoenix Kiosk: Innovative Technologies from Vision to Reality.