If it feels like every meal is a battle to get your child to eat their veggies, you know just how difficult it is to get kids to eat healthily. And while it’s easy to throw in some chicken nuggets for lunch (again), it’s not the most nutritious diet for a growing child. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can try out that will help your child eat healthy foods without any mealtime meltdowns.
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Get Them Involved
Children don’t often get to feel in control, but by involving them in the process of shopping for and preparing meals lets them do just that. Take your kids grocery shopping so they can see the food before it shows up on their plate. They also get to voice their opinion on what they like or want to try. Feeling heard is a good motivator for kids to try new and nutritious foods.
Instead of letting them make all the selections, make sure to give some guidelines for what is purchased or cooked. For example, instead of saying “we need apples and bananas,” try saying “we need two types of fruit. What should we get?” Letting them have a say will encourage them to eat “their” fruit that they choose.
Let Them Choose
Speaking of choice, letting your child choose the foods that go on their plate is also a great way to help them eat better. Instead of plating up for each child and telling them to clean their plate, let the child choose from the nutritious foods you have prepared what they want to go on their plate. Encourage them to try one new thing, but don’t force them.
Sneak in Healthy Foods
Healthy foods don’t always taste great to young tongues, so feel free to disguise healthy foods in dishes that your child likes or pair them with other foods. For example, your child may not be a fan of celery, but he might enjoy it with peanut butter. Likewise, you can sneak in a variety of veggies into scrambled eggs or mac-and-cheese.
Make Healthy Snacks Available
Kids will eat what is available to them. If all they have access to are chips, candy, and soda for snacktime, that’s what they will want. Try making healthy snacks readily available and easy to eat. Try preparing and portioning out veggie sticks and hummus or fresh fruit.
Change Your Preparation
Don’t give up yet if your child tries a new food, like broccoli, and doesn’t like it! Instead, change your preparation method and see if he’ll like it another way. For example, instead of steaming the broccoli, try roasting it and adding some seasonings. Keep trying a few different ways to see if there is any way that your child will eat the food in question.
Getting a child used to eating healthy takes time, so don’t give up!