Has dinnertime become your least favorite time of the day? Are you looking for some great strategies to avoid power struggles with your little picky eaters and stimulate them to eat healthy food? You’ve come to the right place. Feeding your kids doesn’t have to be annoying.
In this post, Annabel Strickland, a certified nutritionist, one of the authors at easytobemom.com, and mom of a 3-year-old boy Matthew, provides tried-and-true recommendations on how to get your children to eat a balanced diet. Enjoy reading.
Provide Freedom of Choice
No one wants to be forced, especially kids. So make sure you offer them freedom of choice when it comes to deciding what they want to eat. Sure, the choice between zucchini grilled cheese and broccoli crust pizza is slightly limiting, but it will keep you in control of your kids’ nutrition. Make your little one feel as though trying a new healthy dish is their idea.
Start a Routine and Stick to It
Your kids need to eat every 3 hours: 3 meals, 2 snacks, and plenty of water. Focus on planning these, and your little foodie’s diet will be a lot more balanced. A lot of moms have a cooler stocked with apples, bananas, nuts, and carrot sticks in the car whenever they’re out with their kids. Make the most of this idea without hesitation. That way, you won’t have to depend on junk food at all.
Experiment with Sauces & Dips
The trick is that kids are fond of dipping things. So if your little picky eaters refuse to eat fruit and veggies, try serving them with fun, nutritious, and yummy dips. By incorporating a healthy dip into your kid’s meal, you add a fun aspect to the process, as well as fat and protein. Natural peanut butter, hummus, avocado dip, and chocolate yogurt are among some of the most popular healthy dips to combine fruit and veggies with.
Get Them Cookin’
Stimulate your kids to get involved in creating their own meals. Let them participate in purchasing products for their meals, allow them to chop, stir, and mix veggies for their own salad. At the end of the day, kids are always more interested in eating what they’ve cooked. Your little gourmet turns down fresh fruit? Don’t fret. Get creative instead of forcing it. Try baking healthy pineapple muffins together, this will most likely make them want to change their minds…
Cut Back on Junk Food
Have fewer junk foods around. Simple as that. If you follow this straightforward rule, you will (naturally) make your kids eat a lot healthier than before. After all, it’s up to you to decide about the food choices in your house.
Balance the aforementioned strict rule by allowing treats in the house. The thing is, if you try to stop your kids from eating junk food completely, this will make chicken nuggets and French fries even more attractive. So make sure you treat your little dessert lovers to certain not-so-healthy yummies on occasion, just for your kids to see it’s no big deal.
Use Your Creativity
The more fun and creative your kids’ meal, the better their appetite. So make sure you Google ‘creative healthy meals for kids’ and translate the ideas you’ll find to practice. Smiley face pancakes, octopus hot dogs, fruity fish faces, peacock fruit plate, sandwich puzzle, cat-in-the-hat snacks… These are just a few fun ideas out of thousands. Oh and don’t forget to make the best out of all the cookie cutters when preparing meals for your children. You will be truly amazed at how creative you can get when encouraging your kiddos to eat healthy food.
Snack Like a Pro
Healthy snacks are important. So if you’re used to giving your kids biscuits with their juice, try opting for some healthy protein-rich alternatives like whole-grain crackers and cheese. Don’t forget that snack portions for kids should be small. Avoid offering your child any kinds of snacks too close to dinnertime. Instead, give them a taste of the ingredients you’re preparing dinner with.
Don’t Reward with Dessert
Whenever you withhold dessert, you let your kids think that dessert is the best meal. Therefore, your little picky eaters’ nonstop craving for treats will only intensify. Allow your kids a few dessert nights per week. Feel free to practice redefining dessert as fruit or nuts once in a while. That way, you will trick your kid into eating healthily — and let them get the dessert they want.
Become a Role Model
Children are immensely influenced by their parents’ life choices. Therefore, it’s only natural that your habits around food determine your kids’ eating choices. So make sure you always send the right food messages your kids’ way if you want to get your picky eaters to eat healthy food. In addition to this, let your kids try as much various healthy food as possible. Praise them when they opt for protein- and fiber-rich snacks. Make sure other family members set a good example to help your child develop healthy eating habits.
Cutting to the Chase: Stay Calm & Take Action
Eating popcorn at the movies or enjoying ice-cream in the park are among your kid’s happy moments. You don’t have to deprive your little dessert lover of that. Balancing these moments with wise food choices (and a workout routine) is what’s paramount for your kid’s healthy diet and development.
Now that you’ve read about the tried-and-tested strategies to stimulate your kids to eat a balanced diet, you’re free to put them to good use. With some creative (yet firm) persistence and a little luck, you’ll manage to avoid the frustrating power struggles you face every day. Maybe try different approaches to food with the help of the internet. Vegans or those who would like to try out a more plant-based meal delivery service to help them diversify their diet. Veestro, for example, is a prepared meal delivery service that is all about plant-based foods. You can read all about Veestro in this Veestro review.
Don’t forget that your kid’s eating habits won’t change in the blink of an eye. However, the small steps you take to help the next generation develop lifetime healthy habits are sure to lead to success. So take the stress out of the whole thing, take action, get creative, and stay in charge.
At EasyToBeMom.com, we discuss some more ways to encourage kids to eat healthily. Have a browse through our posts whenever you’re up for it. If you have anything to say on the topic, don’t hesitate to leave a reply in the comment section below. Your feedback matters a lot.