Written by: Maggie Bloom
To call kids fickle is an understatement. One week they don’t mind their parents shopping for clothes for them, and the following week it is strictly forbidden. Every other day there is friendship drama at school that can threaten the peacefulness of an entire household. And don’t mention their fickleness with food. What they loved for breakfast last week is now disgusting. Their fickleness leaves parents on a tightrope about meal planning and getting children excited about eating healthy.
Serving children a healthy meal includes feeding them various foods that provide enough protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals to grow normally. How much they are served is based on recommendations for their age. However, getting children excited about eating healthy isn’t as hard as it sounds, and parents can work with the whims of their picky and fickle children.
Some ways for parents to get children excited about eating healthy are:
Involve your children
Letting children participate in meal planning and grocery shopping tends to make their selections about the likes of the entire family. Parents should go over different food options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If your picky eater loves cold cereal, let them pick fruit that can be served on top of the cereal.
Make sure your children understand all the steps and different food groups that make a sandwich for lunch. If they enjoy foods like chicken tenders, tell them that the trade-off is that the rest of the plate must be filled with veggies or a salad.
In the grocery store, teach them about shopping the store’s outer perimeter and explain where the fresh items are. Also, start in the fruit and vegetable section area of the grocery store. For small children, allow them to pick fruit and veggies by color and ask them to join you to prepare meals using those vegetables. At dinner, make a big deal at the dinner table about what was selected based on its color.
Show them the way
When children see adults eating healthy, they are more prone to eat healthy too. Adults should select healthy snacks like apple slices and peanut butter or sliced veggies with dip. Other ways that parents can lead by example and promote healthy eating are:
- Keep fruit and vegetables on hand, cleaned, and ready to eat.
- Pull the skin off poultry.
- Eat nondairy products instead of full dairy ice cream or snacks.
- Packing and taking healthy snacks for adult lunch as well as children’s lunches.
- Eat dinner together so that children see you enjoying salad and veggies with meals.
- If you have to stop for fast food, opt for salad choices.
Consider meal delivery services
For the super busy family who wants to get kids excited about healthy eating, consider meal delivery services. Meal delivery services are growing in range and provide meals for the entire family, including finger food for toddlers and selections for the pickiest eaters. When looking for kids meal delivery services, look for meals with more significant expanded portions for older kids and teen and young adult meals nutritious enough to fuel their growing bodies.
When selecting meals, allow kids to be part of the process. That way, parents cannot be accused of picking foods that kids suddenly don’t like. Also, when the box arrives, let your children help unpack and put the items away.
Please don’t call it healthy food
When kids are hungry, food is food. Calling it healthy food will turn kids away. Avoid labeling food as nutritious or unhealthy because that will make them judgmental about other people’s food choices. When they are hungry, please simply give them a healthy option. If they are adamant about having less nutritious snacks, tell them that they have to eat the snack you’ve selected first. Having a small clementine and a handful of potato chips is a compromise without calling one healthy and the other non-healthy.
Getting kids excited about healthy eating isn’t as bad as it may sound. Some proven ways involve kids in planning and grocery shopping, showing them, considering a meal delivery service, and not calling foods healthy or unhealthy.