One of the major challenges of parenting is convincing your kids to eat healthily. In this post I look at ways to encourage healthy eating without a tantrum! Not only do you have to prepare and cook enough food to feed a growing family, but you also have to get them to eat what you give them. This might sound simple, but anyone with young kids will know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Surrounded by adverts and colourful packaging, and plagued by a natural distaste for broccoli, kids have an undeniable sweet tooth. As a parent, you have a duty and desire to keep your kids eating healthily and looking after their mind and body – but how can you accomplish this without a tantrum every mealtime? These simple tricks could provide the answer.
Be Careful With Treats
It might be very tempting to reward your kids with a sweet treat for good behaviour. It’s a very good way to get them to behave, after all. You may think this is also promoting the idea that sweets are not for daily consumption, just for special occasions – but this is where the mistake lies. Often, associating treats with reward, only elevates their importance, making kids crave the treats more and setting up unhealthy habits for years to come. One solution is to find sweet-tasting but healthier alternatives, such as fruits and berries. Alternatively, you can replace the idea of edible treats altogether with the promise of a particular activity they enjoy, or even a film they enjoy watching.
Get Them Cooking
Many parents bake cakes with their children, but fewer get them involved in the process of cooking regular meals. It might seem messy and more bother than it’s worth, but if you can get your kids to love cooking, this will go a long way to instilling healthy eating habits. After all, the appeal of fast food is diminished if you enjoy the fun of cooking your own meal, and kids will be much more willing to eat vegetables they have put the effort into making themselves. There is also a great bonding experience to be had by cooking with your kids, and you might find them more helpful than you bargained for! My children now regularly cook for the family with The Boy cooking healthy pitta bread, veggie pizza’s for lunch only yesterday!
Use Variety- ‘It’s good to Try!’
The more variety you can get into your child’s diet early on, the more excepting their taste buds will be as they grow up. Try to switch it up as much as you can, using store-cupboard ingredients to create a range of dishes like curries, one-pot stews, and pasta sauces. I found a recipe for the best bean salad that the kids love and I know it’s full of the good stuff! It may take a little more effort at first, but your kids will thank you for it. You will also be expanding your own repertoire of dishes, which can be hugely satisfying on a personal level, as well as a parental one. By introducing your kids to a variety of foods as early as possible, you’ll be educating their taste buds and setting them up for a life of healthy, balanced eating.
Convincing your kids to eat healthily while you are around is only the first hurdle! Looking ahead, you also need to be thinking about the choices they are likely to make in your absence. In this post, I look at how these choices worked for us that have enabled my oldest to make healthy food choices well into her teens!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.