You’ll already know that it is imperative that your children all eat a healthy diet. So I won’t go on about the reasons for that. This blog post is still about healthy eating, though. But it’s about what you need to do to persuade your kids to eat healthy. After all, apples and pears wouldn’t be your kids’ first choice for snacks! And if you ask them what they want for dinner, I’m sure you’ll be told something with chips and baked beans. Not exactly the most nutritious meal! Kids are extremely impressionable and can, therefore, be very easily persuaded to tuck into healthy food. It just takes some time and persistence on your part. Not sure where to start? No problem; here are some simple steps to turn your young children into healthy eaters.
Don’t think that you can completely change their diet over night. If you try to rush into a big change, your kids are more likely to refuse to eat whatever is placed in front of them. So start by making small, almost unnoticeable changes. For example, if you usually have an unhealthy side dish like baked beans, swap it for a portion of veg. If your kids don’t eat many vegetables, give them something slightly sweet like sweet corn or carrots. They’ll find it much more palatable than the likes of kale or cauliflower. Once your kids get used to your first few changes, you can start making meals even healthier. And you can try serving these nutritional meals much more often.
Hide The Veggies
Weren’t your kids too impressed with these tiny changes? If they are still pushing their plates away when they see vegetables on them, you need to get a bit more creative with your cooking! Cook your family meals in which you can hide all the good stuff. One-pot meals are especially good for this. Make a large shepherd’s pie and add a lot of finely chopped carrots and mushroom to the filling. Your kids will enjoy the meaty gravy filling; they won’t even notice all the little bits of veg! You can also sneak extra vegetables into a lasagna as well. One of the best ways is to grate up a carrot and mix it into your bolognese sauce. There’s no way the kids will be able to tell you’ve added extra goodness to the rich tomato sauce!
Don’t Give Kids A Choice
One of the worst things you can do when preparing a meal is to ask your kids what they want. They will probably just say pizza or ice cream! Instead, don’t give them a choice. Serve them the meal you have cooked and tell them that it is all that there is for dinner. If they complain, tell them that they don’t have to eat it, but they will go hungry. They won’t like the prospect of their tummies rumbling later on, so they will certainly eat whatever is placed in front of them! You can also say they can’t have any dessert unless they eat everything on their plate. That’s a great way to get them to eat up all their veggies!
Homemade Is Best
Homemade food is a lot healthier than shop-bought products. Especially ready made meals. All of these convenience foods have very high levels of E-numbers and artificial additives. These aren’t particularly healthy, especially for young children. Some studies have shown that E-numbers are linked to hyperactive behaviour. So instead of buying ready meals, cook them from scratch at home. That way, you know exactly what is going into each dish. And you can tailor your meals to suit your children’s taste buds. For example, if your kids refuse to eat onion, just leave it out of your next lasagna.
If your kids get hungry between meals, you can soon cheer them up by giving them something small to nibble on. The one problem with snacking is that many snack foods are very unhealthy. Most sweet snacks are made from chocolate or have extremely high sugar levels. And the bulk of the savoury snack selection aren’t that great either as many are quite fatty. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to find healthy snacks. Buy organic cereal bars or bags of nuts. You could even cut up some carrots and cucumbers into small sticks for your kids to eat with a healthy dip. And there is always fruit as well. Your kids will love the sweet taste of berries, such as strawberries and raspberries.
Juice Their Vegetables And Fruits
If your kids are being tough customers and are refusing to eat any vegetables and fruits that you give them, you need to think outside the box. The best way to persuade them to eat their greens is to give them to them in the form of a drink! Your kids will no doubt love fruity drinks. So why not start giving them a juice every day? You can make your very own with a juicer or blender. Just put in a few different fruits and veg into a blender and whizz them up. Your drink will be all ready for the kids! The best single serve blender will professionally blend the vegetables so your kids won’t even complain about pulp in their drink!
Get The Kids Involved
If kids have played a part in making a meal, they will be a lot more likely to eat it. They will be super proud of their hard work and will want to taste it to make sure it is delicious. No matter what vegetables are in it! Another great thing about getting the kids involved with cooking is that it shows them how a meal is made. They will then appreciate all the time and effort you put into making them delicious and healthy meals. Why not go one step further and plant some carrot or bean seeds in your garden. Then kids can play a part in every step of the harvest as well as cooking!
Mix Up Colors
Your kids might have tasted broccoli a while ago and decided it’s not for them. But this might have resulted in them now associating the color green with the broccoli taste. So they could be put off from trying any green veggies! To get around this, mix up the colors of vegetables at each meal. Make sure there are a few different colors on their plates. This way, they will see that not all vegetables have to be green. Try to encourage them to take one bite out of all the veg on their plate. They will then discover that not all vegetables of the same color taste the same! It’s all about getting your kids familiar and comfortable around all different vegetables. This makes them a lot more adventurous with their foods, which means that they will be a lot more open to trying new flavors and ingredients.
Add More Flavor
Don’t be afraid to use butter and garlic to improve the flavors of some vegetables. The main thing is to get young kids to start feeling confident to try new vegetables. And if you need to add extra flavors to coax them to try new stuff, then so be it. Once they eat the vegetables confidently, you can start to prepare them without any added butter and garlic. You can also use cheese with some vegetables, for example, cauliflower cheese, but that should be used sparingly as it is high in fat.