|Lee drinking a green smoothie (dressed up as a tiger)|
Parents that try to switch to a healthy diet often get frustrated because their kids hate the food. Healthy cooking for children that are not adapted to healthy meals can be challenging, but it is worth the efforts in the end. Children adjust quickly, and you can get your family on a healthy pathway. Here are some simple steps to help your family commit.
You can take comfort foods and sneak vegetables in them. You can use lower fat and healthier alternatives in recipes. Fried foods can be baked to be quite convincing. Healthy and organic foods may be a little more expensive, but they are truly better for your family. An organic and packaged pasta will usually have no high-fructose corn syrup or other scary ingredients compared to a cheaper one. [Sneaking healthy things into pizza crust and sauce is the trick I like to use. -Penny]
Let Them Participate
Let your family participate in grocery shopping and meal planning. Children can even start cooking with you. This makes them feel important. When children are left out of decision making, they tend to get grouchy about the choices made for them. It doesn't hurt to give them health education either. They will eventually catch on and love everything green and healthy too.
Make Green Smoothies
The easiest way to get your children to like greens is by making green juices. Kids love the funky color, and the sweet taste hides all signs of spinach or kale. Choose organic greens because they are significantly healthier compared to conventional greens. [I've heard of parents who take their green smoothies and turn them into green popsickles. Cheaper green smoothies can be made with foraged greens.]
Have Fruit And Veggies Ready All Of The Time
Having fruit baskets makes it easy for everyone to have colorful and fresh fruit. If it is visible, then people will want to eat it. If your children ask for fruits or vegetables, give it to them happily. You can't put a price on seeing your children enjoy fresh food.
Allow Healthy Treats
Allowing healthy treats instead of junk food will keep them interested in the healthy lifestyle. There are plenty of great options out there that are organic and nutritious. Teach your children the meaning of a treat, and don't let them eat those snacks daily.
Switching to an organic and healthy diet is one of the best investments you can make. Doctor bills will go down. This is especially true for young ones that are prone to bacterial and viral infections from school friends. The positive changes you will see in your family will be worth spending a little extra on groceries.
I know it isn't so easy to get your kids to eat healthy things, but in my opinion, its something worth doing. And yes, it may not be overnight that your kids will be in love with healthy food, they may prefer chocolate and candy to chicken and veggies, but eventually your good healthy eating habits will rub off on your kids. And that's where the most important tip to help your kid eat healthy comes from- model healthy eating. You won't have much success getting your kids to eat healthy if you yourself don't.
What do you do to try to get your kids to eat healthier foods? Are there certain healthy foods your kids won't eat? Are there any healthy foods that they love? In general, are your kids more into healthy food or not healthy food?
P.S. I just have to admit that I recently asked my kids what their favorite foods were, and what foods they disliked most. They both liked pizza, ice cream, lollipops, and candies most... and disliked lentils the most. Oh well. At least they eat their veggies...
See my disclaimer.