As we all know and have experienced, children can be picky eaters, especially when it comes to healthy food. Nutrition is important for children as they grow and it is crucial that they get all the nutrients they need. Figuring out how to make healthy eating easier can be a challenge and different tips work for different children. Since we know every child and situation is different, we put together a list of 5 ways to make healthy eating easier in hopes that a couple may work for your child.
First and foremost, being a role model when it comes to eating is the most powerful tip. Children’s “impulse to imitate is strong” and setting examples can sway your child into eating something they may not pick out themselves. Grabbing an apple instead of munching on something salty and greasy is the first step in the right direction. Your child will see what you are eating and that will impact their decision and resistant in healthy food choices.
A second way to get children to eat healthy is to give them some control. Giving options or having them rate foods can make healthy eating fun. You can take your child grocery shopping with you and have them pick out veggies and fruit from the vegetable section. This is also a good way to have them try new foods and experiment with tastes and textures. Children want and need some control and this can make them less resistant in trying healthy foods.
Another way to get your child to eat healthy is to get creative. If your child doesn’t prefer milk or peas, you can just sneak it in something else they like. For example, you can add peas to mac and cheese or make muffins with zucchini. It isn’t about sneaking around with the foods, but just adding them into something more likable or making it into something your child will actually eat. Your child will come to realize that they may actually like that food option, just in different forms.
Going off that last point, dips can be the perfect way to make vegetables appealing. Let your child dip veggies in ranch dressing or even hummus. You can experiment with making your own dips that your child can be involved in. This can be a great way to encourage your child’s healthy eating.
Lastly, have family dinners. Back to the idea of being a role model, your child will have the opportunity to see what you are eating and it may encourage them to eat the same. Also, research illustrates the point that child who eat with their parents have better nutrition. If it is too hard to get the whole family together or just too difficult with time constraints, try sitting down for a family dinner at least twice a week. Slow changes can still have an impact.
Eating healthy is a challenge for adults so of course it is a challenge for children as well. It is something that needs to be worked on since nutrition is key in development and growth. Simply being a role model and eating together as a family is a great start to encouraging healthy eating habits. Dips, disguising foods, and giving options are also ways that can make it easier for children to reach for the healthier foods. We hope a couple of these 5 ways can work for your child or inspire other ideas on how to make healthy eating easier for children. If you have any tips for healthy eating when it comes to children, please submit them through a comment.