Does your kitchen look like you have a dozen kids instead of, let’s say two, because one won’t touch the broccoli but loves your savory casseroles, while the other lives for the cheesecake and you cannot possibly get them to finish the peas before they move to dessert? When you’re a parent of growing little munchkins, you need to find ways to help your picky eaters enjoy their meals and, even more importantly, develop healthy eating habits.
Providing them with balanced meals that are also appealing and will inspire them to appreciate nutritious foods takes time to master.
To help you do just that, here are a few tips for food preparation, as well as other healthy eating habit-building ideas to help even the pickiest eaters become more health-conscious over time!
Fill Your Plates with Lots of Colors
Kids are curious creatures, so they’ll be more inclined to try certain dishes when you serve them in a creative way. Presentation can be the key to getting them to eat better over time, and they will likely be more curious about adding various spices and herbs such as curcumin or parsley. Not to mention eating their often dreaded vegetables.
One study showed that children like to see at least six colors on their plates, which is great news since fruits and veggies are so varied in color. Add to that, by placing their food into fun forms, you’ll encourage them to enjoy their every meal, even if it does contain something not quite as appealing as maple syrup pancakes.
Bring the Kids to the Kitchen
Nothing is quite as inspiring for your kids as taking action! When they are a part of something, they naturally feel a stronger attachment to it—which is the perfect excuse to invite them to prepare something like low sugar sweets alongside you, and turn it into a learning, fun activity.
There are perfect prepackaged ingredients that you can use to reduce your kids’ sugar intake while they also get to enjoy their favorite sweets such as chocolate-chip cookies. You can also have them help you put together healthy meals, depending on their ages.
Sometimes, kids won’t eat something simply because they’re suspicious of its taste, smell, or texture. So, getting them to eat kale can be a real battle, right? The simplest possible way to incorporate more of these healthy ingredients into their diet is to blend them together with other goodies and serve them as smoothies. Over time, as your kids become more open to ideas, you can make smoothies together and show them how tasty they can be, despite containing the vicious kale or the spinach.
Let Them Enjoy Their Treats
It’s true that sugar is not good for your little ones, but all kids want to enjoy the occasional chocolate, some ice cream, or their favorite cake. You shouldn’t deny them those moments of indulgence, as long as they can practice moderation, with your supervision, of course.
So instead of completely eliminating sweets and treats, make sure they consume healthy varieties predominantly, but also grant them the freedom to enjoy their favorites in smaller amounts. Restricting foods only causes cravings, so it’s absolutely fine to let your kids enjoy their treats in moderation.
Turn Meals into Family Feasts
Kids need time to bond with you, so instead of just setting them in front of a TV when it’s time to have lunch, why not turn those daily moments into family bonding time? Each meal can be set at the table, and you can enjoy them together as a family. Exchanging jokes, talking about your day, and encouraging your kids to share their thoughts will all help them be more positive about their regular meals.
Avoid Bribes and Conditions—Be a Role Model
If you become too strict with their eating habits, and pressure them into finishing each plate of food, your kids can develop a negative association with that very same healthy meal you’re trying so hard to add to their diet. Pressuring, bribing, and similar actions are the exact opposite of what you should do. In fact, start with yourself, and show them just how wonderful enjoying healthy meals can be.
Bonus: Inspire Your Little Ones to Get Active
Hand in hand with healthy eating, your kids should understand the importance of regular exercise. When they play outside with their siblings and friends, or with their lovely pets, they will develop a healthy appetite and be less likely to get picky at the table. Moreover, regular physical activity lets them develop and grow properly and provides them with yet another strong basis for health and fitness in life.
Leading a healthy life starts at home, and your kids need to see you applying for yourself the very same rules you insist on for them. Of course, it takes time to show them just how delicious the healthiest ingredients (yes, even broccoli) can be when prepared with love and care. With a little bit of patience and tons of consistency, you’ll provide them with a solid healthy basis for their future and well-being!
About the Author
Mia Taylor is a 33-year-old blogger who writes about beauty, fashion, and travel. She had always been passionate about fashion and over time she has developed a style of her own. Mia loves to mix and match and inspire girls with her advice about outfit and accessories. She loves telling a story about her travels and providing beauty tips with readers.