This is a gest post from Laura Pearson. Pearson is passionate about teaching the younger generation. Edutude was built to share resources on how to keep children engaged and in love with learning.
With America facing an obesity crisis, many families are looking for easier ways to eat healthy that won’t break the bank. However, it’s not always simple to get kids interested in eating fruits and vegetables, especially when time is short and it’s easier to just run through the drive-thru after work. Looking for easy, quick recipes that incorporate fresh foods will help your family eat healthier, but sometimes you have to get creative in order to keep them interested.
It’s also important to learn how to create and stick to a budget. Eating healthy can sometimes be expensive, but there are ways to make your grocery bill wallet-friendly. Starting with a good plan helps; making a list before you go shopping and taking pains to stick to it will allow you to save money and create a routine that will sustain you and your family for years to come.
Here are a few good tips on how to get your kids interested in eating healthy.
Give them a good mix
No kid wants to feel pressured to eat foreign foods, so keep it light and introduce new veggies slowly. Give them things you know they like and add one new item at a time so they won’t be intimidated. Try to be patient; many kids are loathe to try new things, and sometimes it can take several attempts before they come around to liking it. Keep trying!
Make it fun
Making mealtime fun can mean the difference between groans of frustration and clean plates, especially if your child is five years old or younger. You don’t have to spend hours creating a Pinterest-perfect sandwich; dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets with broccoli trees will likely make your children happy and get them to take an interest in healthy eating.
Set an example
Your kids will have an easier time of eating well if they see you doing it, too. Talk to them about why it’s so important to incorporate fresh foods into their diet and how the body converts what we eat into energy. Letting them see you taking the time to prepare good, vitamin-rich meals will help them carry on those habits well into adulthood. If time is short -- and for many single parents, it always is -- take the time to prepare some meals ahead of time and freeze them so you can heat them up easily on a weeknight. Another option is to hire a dietitian or nutritionist to create meal plans for you and your children. You can browse online job boards to find freelance dieticians that offer affordable services.
Set a budget
Many single parents struggle with finding enough money, so setting a budget is imperative when it’s time to go shopping. Look for fresh items that are in season, as these tend to be less expensive than out-of-season items, and keep an eye on the ads from your local grocer so you can track their sales. You can also check to see if they offer a discount or membership card that will save you money every time you shop.
Get them involved
Allowing your kids to get involved in the process of buying, growing, or cooking food will help them see the value of eating healthy and will teach them responsibility at the same time. Look for simple recipes you can make together and let them help you plan the meal. This is also a great way to get in some quality time with one another.
Helping your children learn to like fruits and vegetables will not only make your life easier now, it will help them develop healthy habits that will benefit them later in life. Talk to them about how to make good choices and remember to lead by example so there will be no confusion.
For more tools to encourage healthy lifestyles, check out Health World's Nutrition programs to engage children in making informed and healthy food choices!