If you are what you eat then one of my sons is a massive pile of sugar! Unless it's an apple anything green has to be hidden within his meals or swallowed whole & quickly washed down with a bucket of water.
Getting kids to enjoy fruits and particularly veggies can be hard. If your child is resisting eating healthily at home, try out these tips to get them on the right track, and to even help them enjoy eating clean. Food can be fun if you’re engaging them enough, and it’s possible with these three tips.
Implement a reward system
The best way to utilize a reward system in your home is to use it sparingly, and keep the rewards varied. If they finish all of their vegetables, they get to play for an hour before bed, or get a special (healthy) dessert, or they get to stay up an extra fifteen minutes. Keep the rewards small, so that you don’t get in over your head with the system.
And, don’t compromise – the moment you let your child get away with something they normally don’t, they’ll quickly learn that they can lower the bar and still get the reward they were promised. It’s also helpful to offer your child choices for their meals – they can choose an apple, an orange, celery, or carrots for their snack. When they have the power to make the choice for themselves, they’ll enjoy their choice more, rather than only offering them one option, which they may end up resenting.
Connect food with play
One of the best ways to get kids to enjoy eating healthy is to involve them in the cooking process. If they can get their hands dirty and have a part to play in getting the meal on the table, kids are more likely to eat it because of the role they’ve had. It helps them feel important, and it’s a fun activity that the whole family can participate in.
Involving your child in cooking also helps with creating a positive perception of food – not promoting that unhealthy or too much food is bad, but that healthy choices and healthy proportions are good. Children learn at an early age how food works, and creating a positive perception of healthy meals is important early on. That’s why having fun while cooking, and eating, is a great option to keep kids engaged and interested in their meals.
Make a schedule
Make a meal plan and plan out the recipes ahead of time so that there aren’t any surprises at home. Kids should know what their breakfast options are so that you don’t have to handle a crying fit early in the morning before school. If they know what to expect every day, then it makes it easier to get them used to healthy options.
However, keeping new foods in your rotation is important as well, so that they learn to like new things and become open to new options that they haven’t experienced before. Keep a routine, but make sure that the routine is fresh and rotates in new options each week. Cooking international food from different cultures together is also a fun way to include learning in the mix – kids can absorb other cultures and histories while eating healthy.