I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “Kids say no to vegetables.” But you can raise kids that love vegetables! In fact, kids are often more receptive than adults when it comes to trying new things.
This post will give you some great tips and tricks for teaching your kids about the importance of healthy food and how they can love these foods too. You’ll also learn 11 easy ways to get them excited about eating their veggies!
Healthy Eating for Kids
Introducing your children to healthy eating early on will encourage them to cultivate good habits as they grow up, which could lead to better health later in life. Kids like to have fun with food and try new things, so teaching them about the importance of healthy eating early is key to lifelong success.
Teaching healthy eating habits early is beneficial for several reasons, including:
- teaching children how their body functions.
- promoting a healthy lifestyle and that can help prevent diseases.
- providing nutritional benefits that may be lacking in other foods.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to taste bland or boring – there are plenty of ways to keep things interesting but still nutritious (like these 10 tricks!).
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How Do You Explain Healthy Eating to A Child?
Children often don’t understand the importance of healthy eating. They want to eat what tastes good and feels like a treat, but unfortunately these foods are usually not very nutritious.
You can teach your children about how important it is to get all the nutrients they need from their food by talking with them and giving small examples that show why this is so crucial for their growth. For example, you could tell them that chicken contains protein which helps make muscles strong or oranges contain Vitamin C which boosts immunity against colds.
Explaining healthy eating in terms of health benefits might be a hard concept for young kids to grasp. However, it is still essential to explain to kids that with every bite we take our bodies react differently according to the nutrients inside those bites. When we talk about healthy eating, we’re talking about eating whole foods that will give our body the nutrients it needs to grow and stay healthy.
Some fun activities that can help explain healthy eating to kids are reading books such as Little Red Hen and Eating the Alphabet. You can also do simple things such as visiting a farm, growing your own food, or exploring food science activities. The most important goals when starting to teach your child about healthy eating are to help your child explore different foods and gain understanding of basic nutritional concepts.
10 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Eat Healthy
Start with a dinner that the whole family will love.
If you’re looking for a way to make healthy eating easier and more fun, try starting with dinner. Healthy habits start early in life–it’s never too late! Make sure that your family eats together as often as possible; this is an opportunity to talk about the day and have some quality time with those we love most. This also sets up a good routine of sitting down at the table without distractions or TV so it’s easier to focus on what everyone has been doing all day.
Introduce new vegetables to your kids’ diet by serving them raw, then steamed or roasted.
Kids are often less picky about food when they eat a vegetable in its whole form before it’s cooked and seasoned with spices.
Sneak healthy food into their favorite meals – like adding diced carrots to spaghetti sauce and spinach to macaroni and cheese.
You may also want to serve healthy veggies that are similar to their favorite dishes! Healthy versions of macaroni and cheese, pizza, burgers, fried rice—you name it—showcasing the diverse food choices available helps kids realize that new doesn’t always mean scary.
Have them help you make the meal together so they feel more invested in it.
Some parents have found that having their kids help them make the meal together helps to encourage healthy eating habits in children. Helping prepare meals can give children a sense of pride in what they’re about to eat, often making them less resistant when it comes time to try something new.
Get creative with snacks by making smoothies in fun colors, dipping fresh fruit in yogurt, or adding veggies like broccoli and cauliflower to veggie trays.
Fun foods are something that need to be introduced so children can see that they can still eat the types of food they love without feeling like their parents are depriving them of sweets or other foods their friends may have at school. Healthy snacks might include fresh fruit in season, homemade veggie trays with low-fat dip options, popcorn, popsicles made from fruits and veggies instead of frozen juice bars, apple slices dipped in peanut butter or almond butter (peanut allergies aside), yogurt, and pretzels!
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Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy foods that are easy for kids to grab on their own – such as applesauce pouches, individual yogurts, pre-cut fruits/veggies.
Having healthy snack choices at home is an awesome way to help your child feel empowered in making healthy decisions! Healthy food can be hard enough during weekdays but throw in school events after school and extracurricular activities on the weekend and it becomes even more challenging. Keeping healthy snack items on hand not only makes it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks, it also makes it easy for you as the parent.
Make a list of their favorite foods, then find healthier versions for them to explore.
Snag our printable shopping list and let your kids help you fill it out!
Shop together and talk about what you are buying.
This is one of my favorite things to do with my kids. Not only do they get to explore tasting new foods, but they also get to explore the process of shopping. You can even make a game out of it such as pick a new food each shopping trip that starts with _ letter.
Don’t use food as punishment or reward.
In addition to teaching your child how to eat healthy foods, it is also important that you teach your child how to have a healthy relationship with food. Avoid using food as a punishment or reward so that your child does not develop unhealthy associations with food.
Make sure not to give up too quickly on trying new things – sometimes kids need time to get used to new flavors before opening up to trying them again.
I know it can be hard to believe, but your kids will eventually come around! If your child doesn’t like a fruit or vegetable served one way, take some time to try other recipes.
Teaching your child healthy eating habits is not always easy. But, if you want to instill good food choices in them from a young age it’s important that they learn what foods are nutritious and why those foods should be eaten more often than others. With these 10 tips for teaching children how to make healthier food choices which we hope will help get the ball rolling on improving their diet today!
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