Happy almost New Year! This time we’re going to do something different, which is to get this lecture out of the way before New Year Resolution season commences. Let’s start off with a harsh reality in the modern world – fast food is a big part of modern life these days, making it very hard to teach a child how he or she should eat healthy. The cheapest and easiest foods are those that are normally the least healthy.
I touched on this in one of my blog posts a few years back, where I described a documentary where the affluent folk in Buenos Aires were thinner than those living in poverty in the barrio (ghetto) in Argentina.
If you give your child the choice between healthy food and junk food, you normally will not like the results. This is because we are hard-wired to favour foods rich in calories. But there is some good news. Even though it isn’t possible to get a child to like all healthy foods, there are some ways to get your child to try and hopefully like at least a few of them.
You can be as creative as you like, as getting kids to eat healthy foods can be a little harder than you may think. Check out the tips below for some ideas, but remember that this is only the start. Do some work yourself and exercise your creative grey matter!
One: The Name Game
Yes, you can start by call fruits and vegetables funny names. This works for younger children in particular. For example, you can refer to broccoli as “trees”, making them more fun to eat. Technically, broccoli does look like trees anyway! There are many different names you can call fruits and vegetables. Most kids prefer to eat foods that sound fun.
Two: Play Dress Up
Ever seen those funny commercials where vegetable parts are reshaped into a face? Well, inasmuch as calling vegetables funny names help kids eat healthy foods, making them look funny also helps. You can do this by making funny designs on the plate, or setting them up to look like people. Although some parents don’t like their kids playing with their food, sometimes it helps to get them to eat healthier. Weigh up the pros and cons.
Three: Sneaky Sneaky
Alright – I’m not a fan of breaking a child’s trust, as they can bear grudges. However, sneaking some healthy food in should work, as long as you are smart about it. Face it – even though it would be great if your kid understood the importance of fruits and vegetables, this isn’t always possible.
If you cannot get them to eat good food willingly, there are ways to sneak them in, such as making muffins out of bananas or apples, or pizza with spinach on it. They’ll laugh about it when they grow up.
Four: Give Them A Nicer Taste
Often easier said than done, this is one to try. The secret is in the sauce, dressing or spice. For example, ranch dressing is great for broccoli, while peanut butter is a great topping for celery. There are several combinations for vegetables that can make them taste much better. You can let your child pick a topping for a vegetable, even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally like yourself.
There are several ways to make your kids eat healthier, but to make them enjoy it also has to be fun as well. This isn’t always an easy task, because kids normally don’t like foods that are good for them. It can however, be done with a bit of creativity. Hopefully, doing this will help your child develop a love of healthy foods for the rest of their lives.
And one more thing – you should, as much as possible, lead by example. I mean, it’s one thing to mandate that your kids should eat vegetables, but these count for nothing if you are not doing it yourself. Get educated about this by getting a copy of the Strategic Nutrition Guide, or check out the following resources:
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