Get the Kids Involved
Your kids will be more interested in healthy meals if they help plan and prepare them. So get your kids brainstorming about tasty, fast, healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, then let them help you:
- Make grocery lists
- Go grocery shopping with you
- Prepare the food (little ones can mix foods, wash produce, or open packages)
- Create simple desserts (fruit parfait, frozen fruit juice, or yogurt Popsicles)
Don't forget to plan treats at home and when you're eating out. To keep kids from feeling deprived, you don't want to ban food favorites like chips, ice cream, and candies -- just make sure they're special now-and-then treats.
Be a Role Model
Your kids notice how you eat, so be a role model to them for healthy eating behaviors. A few simple ways to be a healthy eating habits role model include:
- If you want the kids to eat their fruits and veggies, be sure they see you eat yours, too.
- Go easy on between-meal snacks, and when you do snack, make healthy choices like produce, nuts, or whole grains.
- Avoid portion distortion; if you say no to super-sizing and usually skip seconds, your kids will notice.
- Share a healthy dessert at home and when you're eating out.
- Be positive about your body and attitudes toward food.
Want to make being a role model easier on you and help your kids eat healthy at the same time? Only stock the kitchen and pantry with healthy treats like dried fruits and nuts, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, and plenty of produce. Always have a bowl of fruit on the countertop, where it's easy to grab on-the-go. Also keep goodies like whole-grain crackers on hand.
Talk to Your Kids About Healthy Eating
It may sound obvious, but kids need to be taught about eating right. It's not necessarily obvious why an apple is a better snack than a candy bar, so talk to kids about nutrition. Discuss subjects like why some foods are part of everyday healthy eating, and why other foods are a special treat.
Teach kids where their food comes from with a visit to a local farm or farmer's market. Show them how to read and follow a recipe. Help your kids plant and tend a garden, then teach them to prepare the food they've grown. Show your children how to read nutrition labels, how to compare prepackaged foods in the supermarket, and how to shop.
It's not that hard to improve your children's diet and win kids over to healthier foods. And it comes with a great bonus: Once they're eating right, it's likely that you are, too!