If there is one thing that I hear all the time from friends and family, it’s that it’s just so hard to get their kids to eat a healthy and nutritious diet. So I’ve been batting around ideas for what could help parents out in this arena. Getting our kids to eat healthy should (and can) be a fun thing, but unfortunately I know that most parents see it as a battle. I’d love to try and get some ideas out there for those of us who have a constant battle with food. Here are some tips for you. If this is your kids when you try to get healthy food in them…
Maybe we could get them to look more like this!
1. GET THEM INVOLVED
I know that’s easier said than done, especially in a super busy home. Ask them for meal planning ideas. What would THEY like you to buy at the grocery store? Let them cook with you. Put an apron on them and let them get their hands dirty. You know that they will! One of the things I love having my kids do is watch the veggies cook. You can watch them go from normal colors to super bright and vibrant colors. I will also often times will ask the kids to come and chat with me in the kitchen while I cut up veggies for a salad or for dinner. They will inevitably end up picking at the veggies and eating them while I’m cutting and chopping.
2. TAKE THEM TO A FARM OR FARMER’S MARKET
Take a day and visit a local farm. Let them see where the food comes from. Go hang out with some chickens and walk through the veggie fields. Or go pick some berries or apples. Our favorite thing to do is to take the kids to the farmer’s market every week, or as often as we can. They know the people at the booths now, and love to get “Bob’s eggs” or the veggies from “their” veggie stand. My oldest loves the “sprout lady”. People always stare at her while she chomps down a ton of different kinds of sprouts. I never would have known that my kids love hummus or olives or beet kvass if we hadn’t tried the samples there. We look around and try to get something for every color of the rainbow. The kids love finding purple cauliflower or rainbow chard or “spiky” fruits…still don’t know what those are called! Or they try to pick the biggest butternut squash in the box. I let them pick out veggies that look good to them and then when that shows up at dinner, they’re so excited that I picked “their” veggie or fruit. Let them take some ownership. I wouldn’t be very happy if food showed up in front of me every meal and I never got a say in it either!
3. MAKE IT AS FUN AND CREATIVE AS POSSIBLE
Instead of scrambled eggs, try making an egg pizza (I’ll get that post up sometime soon!). Heat up a pan, put a good chunk of coconut oil in it and drop a bunch of eggs in the pan to cover the whole bottom. Add some veggies or bacon on top and throw a top on it to sit for a few minutes. Then cut it up into “pizza” slices and eat it. Put some fresh veggies on a skewer stick and let them eat it like a shish kabob. Let them use a cookie cutter and make shapes with their jicama or watermelon or cucumber. Create a rainbow chart and check off the colors together every day. Zoe loves coloring rainbows, so we’re never short on rainbow charts! Cut the bell pepper sideways and make little flowers for them to eat. There are TONS of ways you can make food more fun.
4. BRANCH OUT!
If you always steam veggies, then give roasting them a shot! If you always scramble eggs, try poaching them. If you only use salt, try adding some garlic crispies. That’s what we call them anyways. A good seasoning or rub can totally change how a meal tastes. Try a big berry smoothie with a ton of leafy greens in there. Throw a big roast in the slow cooker instead of using the BBQ all the time. BBQ some peaches and put some coconut ice cream on it. So many fun things to try! Change it up!
5. LET THEM GROW THEIR OWN
If you have room for a garden or some pots, let the kids go to the nursery and choose their own plants. We’ve ended up with some amusing plants recently, but as long as my kids are eating food from their garden, I’m pumped about it. Our one year old already wanders out to the garden and starts picking at the blueberries and tomatoes out there. He’ll sit next to the rosemary bush and chomp away. It’s awesome! I know that not everyone has room for a garden in their home, and I’m actually investigating some fun ideas for those with limited space or those without a garden. If it pans out, it would also be drought proof which could be HUGE for us Californians right now!
Hope those tips are helpful for you as you think about trying to get some nutritious food into your children! If you have any other ideas, PLEASE feel free to comment below and let us know what else we could do to make healthy eating more fun!