Today’s post was submitted by Jenny Wise who blogs at Special Home Educator, a forum for sharing her adventures in homeschooling and connecting with other homeschooling families. She enjoys providing advice to parents who are considering homeschooling their kids.
Kids are notoriously picky eaters, and when confronted with a vegetable instead of their usual foods, they will often revolt and refuse to even touch it. This is bad news for parents, who have usually worked a long day and don’t have the patience to deal with a four-year old and his tantrum over a carrot touching his sandwich.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help your children get interested in healthy eating; it just takes a bit of creativity. It’s important to try, because making good decisions about what they eat will translate into good decisions about getting active and staying healthy, which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. You can use some of these tips to help your children learn to appreciate fresh foods. Remember that teaching by example is a great way to get them started, so eating your veggies as well is imperative.
Keep reading to find out how to help your children get excited about healthy eating.
For kids who are extremely picky, it may be difficult to introduce veggies. Try getting creative by using cookie cutters and bento boxes to make a visually delightful lunch or dinner that will draw your children in. Look on Pinterest for colorful scenes you can add to their plate at each meal, such as a moon and star made of squash.
Let them help
Allowing your children to be involved in the preparation of their meals will allow them to have more appreciation for what they eat. Have a homemade pizza night and cut up several vegetables they can add to their cheese, dough, and sauce, such as mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and spinach. Not only will this help your kids view these fresh foods as fun, it will allow you to have some quality time together creating a healthy meal.
Try, try again
Sometimes little ones push away veggies because they don’t like the texture. Look for different ways to prepare various vegetables by steaming, grilling, baking, frying, and leaving them raw and serving them with dip. Don’t give up! Often, our tastes change over time, so even if your kids don’t love something right now, they might a month down the road.
Find a book about vegetables
Especially for younger children, finding a good book about vegetables and how they go from the ground to the table is a great way to introduce them to healthy eating. Most kids are fascinated by the way things grow, so showing them colorful illustrations or photos and reading a fun story about how we get the food we eat can help them get interested in eating healthy.
Start a garden
Starting a small front-yard garden is a great way to get the kids involved in the food process. Seeing something grow from nothing, working together to plant and then reap the benefits, and choosing their favorite types of vegetables to grow will be perfect motivation for them to make healthy choices for years to come. For some great tips on how to get started with your own garden, click here.
Helping your kids get excited about healthy eating isn’t always easy, and there will be some trial and error involved. Try to stay patient and keep communication open about what everyone likes; offering variety is key. Remember that when your littles see you eating veggies, they’ll be more likely to follow suit, so load up your plate with color and eat fresh as much as possible. Trying some different methods will help your kids develop healthy eating habits for years to come.
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For additional lesson material that covers healthy eating, check out our Myplate, My Body program for preK-2nd graders!