That’s right. It’s time to have healthy food for dinner. The children run into the kitchen from playing outside and ask, “What’s for dinner?” You don’t want to tell your seven-year-old what’s on the menu for fear of hearing, “Oh no, notthat!” Teaching kids to love healthy food is a skill that takes time. With a bit of patience, your children can learn to enjoy eating healthy foods. Over time, the following tips can be implemented to help encourage youngsters to actually like eating new fruits, basic vegetables, and other wholesome foods.
Learn How Food Is Grown
Having a home vegetable garden is ideal in helping children learn how vegetables are grown. There is something about kids watching seeds turn into food that makes them more willing to try eating vegetables.
If gardening isn’t your thing, take your children to a local Farmer’s Market to talk to the farmers about how all the different types of produce are grown. If nothing else, your children will see that it’s important to you. They’ll also have fun getting out of the house for a mini field trip.
Let Them Help
Allowing your children to help choose what goes on the menu is one way to help them feel involved, which is often a huge help in getting kids to eat better. You’ll also get ideas about what they prefer, aside from simply knowing about their tried-and-true favorites.
In addition to letting them help with the menu, they can also help in the kitchen. Even young children can help get food out of pantries and cupboards. They can help open cans, cut open bags of frozen veggies, and even help measure, pour, and stir ingredients. Older children will be able to do a bit more such as reading the recipes, maybe even cutting ingredients with a knife, or bringing mixtures to boil.
How It’s Cooked
Try cooking different foods in different ways. Texture and flavor play a huge role in how something tastes, so play around with different cooking approaches. For example, canned spinach with butter and salt vs. fresh raw spinach with dip. Some children will enjoy tearing the spinach into little bits and then dipping it into dressing.
Serving a side dish of mixed veggies, whether frozen, canned or fresh, is a great way to offer more variety and get children used to seeing more vegetables on their plates. They can simply eat what they like and leave the rest.
Calling certain foods by different names can also make a difference in a kid’s willingness to eat. They would rather eat ‘dinosaur trees’ than broccoli, or ‘alligator bites’ than spinach balls. Get creative!
Most younger children can’t stand the thought of having their different foods touch each other. Using a divided sectional plate makes a world of difference in kid’s compliance to eat better.
The environment can play a role in breaking down barriers. A child is often more willing to try new foods in the presence of new friends, new places, or new restaurants. Since parents have other adults to talk to, the child feels less pressured and more willing to eat healthier.
Finally, a few house rules can help children learn better eating habits. Here are a few to choose from, or make up your own.
- Everyone eats the same meal. No special meals for picky eaters. That just caters to their being picky and enforces the bad habit.
- Offer a variety of items during each meal. Seeing the food over and over might eventually lead them to want to try it. The more familiar a food seems, the more willing a person is to try it.
- Serve very small portions. If kids want more beef tips, they have to finish all their peas first.
By combining these tips, a parent will have a higher rate of success than by not do anything at all to get their children to eat healthy. Good luck and happy eating!
Author: Renee Varney is a freelance blogger and occasionally writes for delivery.com a site she loves using to find local Chinese Food Delivery services using their Los Angeles Food Delivery directory.