It is never too late to get the whole family, including the kids, to eat healthy. Teaching kids to eat healthy is easiest if you start when they are infants, but with the right motivation older children can learn to enjoy eating healthy foods. If your family needs to learn to eat healthy, here are a few tips that may make the transformation more palatable. Here are 7 tips to get your kids eating healthy.
1. Involve the Whole Family
Your chances of successfully switching your family to a healthy diet are greatly increased when you involve the whole family. Convince family members that the new healthy diet is a great eating adventure that will enable them to explore new foods instead of sticking to their usual dull diet... and do it yourself!
2. Personal Lists
Sit down with each family member and list some healthy foods they already like. These foods are great for substituting for foods that will be eliminated from his or her diet. A good example of this would be if your son likes oranges, eliminate cookies from his diet and substitute with an orange at snack time. Encourage your kids to suggest some healthy foods on their own and try to come up with some foods everyone in the family likes.
3. Get Fresh
If possible, obtain fresh, organic foods. Choose the freshest vegetables and fruits; select fresh non-processed whole foods and protein from a healthy source.
It is easier to get infants to eat healthy than older kids. Avoid feeding your infant sugars and processed foods. Feed your baby fresh fruits, fresh veggies and a few whole grains. Make sure everyone in the near and extended family understands that they are not to feed Baby sweets and junk foods. When infants are fed a healthy diet, they readily accept the healthy foodstuffs.
5. Pre-schoolers and Toddlers
Once kids have tasted sugars and processed foods, they most likely will prefer them over a healthier diet. You may need to get creative to get this age of child to convert to healthy eating. Try using cookies cutters to make shaped fruit snacks or desserts. Use copious amounts of praise when they consume whole portions of healthy foods at mealtime. Sometimes it takes bribery to get kids to eat healthy; reward healthy eating with non-food rewards such as a movie or day at the park.
6. School-aged Kids
School kids generally want to eat what “everyone else” is eating. School lunches generally are not considered overly health conscious so pack healthy lunches for your kids. The best way to get school aged kids to eat healthy is to allow them to choose from a list of “acceptable” foods.
7. 80-20 Rule
Older children respond well when you apply the 80-20 Rule; this rule basically states that if the kids eat healthy 80% of the time they are allowed a “forbidden” treat. Kids are more likely to adhere to a healthy diet when they are motivated by the promise of a treat they are normally not allowed.
Talk about food and the consequences of an unhealthy diet with the whole family. Provide healthy meals and snacks for every member of the family and let it be known that they are expected to eat wisely. Kids follow their parents lead; therefore, lead by example. How do you think your family would react to processed foods being eliminated from their diet?
Top Photo Credit: laurenlemon