So, You Think Your Kids Won’t Eat Healthy Foods?

Several weeks ago I read this article about how to get your kids to eat healthy, and I wanted to share it with everyone. I get a lot of parents who insist that their kids are “too picky to eat healthy” and they tell me they have given up. This article provides some fantastic tips that I hadn’t even heard before, and it gives hope to all parents out there who think their kids will never eat healthy. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.


Source: iStockPhoto

Question
: What’s your favorite tip for getting kids to eat healthy?

I was thirteen years old when I my brother Joseph was born. I can remember my mom buying the “off brands” of foods for him and then noticing Joe’s face when she served him the food. Automatically he assumed he wouldn’t like the food, simply because the product wasn’t familiar. This proved to me that children (and adults!) make judgements about foods before they even taste them, based on passed experience or (mainly for kids) marketing. As a parent, make sure that your child has little reason to judge healthy food in a negative way. Eat healthy foods yourself, and show them how much you enjoy them…it helps! And, if you need to put a healthier food in a different box (such as a lower sodium mac and cheese in a familiar Kraft mac and cheese box) do it. Another idea is to give meals fun names like; “Bodacious Bean-burger!” or “Spongebob Broccoli and Cheese!” . Kids love that.

And while on the topic of getting your kids to eat healthier, here is another great article to consider reading; When Kids Get Fat, Is Dad to Blame?

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Comments

  1. says

    Good article!

    I think many parents make the mistake of labeling kids as picky eaters and assuming that they won’t like certain foods. So often I hear from friends, “My kid only eats…. Don’t even bother giving him…” I also think parents make a “big deal” about eating vegetables.

    Just the other day we had friends over and the toddler ate about 12 cherry tomatoes right off our tomato plant. They went on and on and on about how great that was and how their kid won’t touch vegetables. The kids were right there, and I really wasn’t very happy about the whole conversation. Eating vegetables is normal in our house and not a big deal. They are served at every meal. Sometimes the toddler won’t eat them, and I don’t make a big deal either. I just offer them again. He gets plenty of veggies and fruits in a day, so if he decides not to eat many at one meal, it’ll all even out. Hearing over and over again “eat your vegetables” just doesn’t make eating vegetables appealing in my opinion. I want my kids being excited about veggies like I am and not think they are something they have to eat. Being excited about veggies myself and making them the main part of every meal (and not making a “big deal”) is the best way I have found for my kids to eat veggies.

  2. says

    The more I work with parents and children and my children. The more I realize that, for the most part, parents need to do the work. If you cook and involve your kids and allow them to waste food kids respond. If you resort to what’s easy, don’t eat well yourself and/or assume your child will not eat something you know what you’ll get. Excited to read the articles/links Gina-thanks.

  3. says

    Some really good points here! It is down to the parents on how their children’s diets develop, as it them that feed them. So if they only buy junk food and takeaways, that’s what their children will be used to, bringing with it the negative attitudes towards healthy foods that you speak of!

  4. says

    I agree with Andrea 110%! I think we make people picky eaters. It does still amaze me how picky some adults are, though. And I do think it’s because they were never exposed (EARLY ON!) to different foods. My coworker refuses to try sushi, seafood, you name it…and I really do think it’s because she was raised on meat and potato – that’s it. Everything else is weird to her. Variety…the spice of life! I totally believe it!

    Enjoy your weekend, Gina!

  5. says

    When I was growing up my siblings and I would only eat the “no-name” brand mac & cheese. The generic kind that was a white box with black writing back before store brand days. When Kraft was on sale and my mom would pick it up we wouldn’t eat it because we thought it tasted funny! I just find it comical that it was the generic that we loved.

  6. says

    I love it! Parents are definitely guilty of this. I have lots of moms say they can’t eat healthy b/c they have to have junk in the house for the kids…I always wonder if they think about what that sounds like!

  7. says

    I think getting kids to eat good food is a battle and the strugglers are the parents. This is a fight they cannot afford to give up. It is very easy to give in when the kid decides to throw tantrums. Growing up tantrums was not something we were allowed to display when it came to food.
    I grew up in India in an era when packaged food, pizzas and burgers had still not made quite the impact in the market, so natural wholesome home cooked food was more familiar to me.

    Starting early with kids is the only mantra to get them to eat healthy, I think!

  8. says

    Some great ideas in the article and in the comments so far :) This is something I feel pretty strongly about since I see lots of meal choices teaching kindergarten. The second article kinda freaked me out though, Eric has gotten a lot healthier but I still hope my food choices influence my kids more than his do :)

  9. says

    a lot of times i think kids don’t want to eat ‘healthy’ because they associate healthy foods with bad tasting foods because of people in general thinking healthy = boring. but there’s plenty of ways to show kids that healthy foods are tasty by just making them taste good and not calling them healthy food, just food. shouldn’t chicken breasts not fried and eaten normal just be called food instead of healthy food..

  10. says

    Let the kids help with the cooking. I just did a cooking class with 12 children (ages 9-16) and it was great. They had a ball (and wore me out) but I had them eating zucchini, squash, asparagus, baked chicken, roasted pork, baked cinnamon apples, berry parfaits, and more. The post about it is coming soon!

  11. says

    Although I’ve taken flack for it, I trick my kids. Well, Noah mostly b/c Sarah likes most foods. As far as he’s concerned chick peas, quinoa, farro and lentils are “pasta”. And I puree veggies into soups, stews and sauces. We all love fruit and now that most of it is in season I make sure to put a big bowl of berries or melon on the dinner table. The kids polish it off every night. You’re never gonna get them to eat everything and some days they’ll love it, the next they won’t. I find that if I keep offering, the food will eventually be tried. And yes, fun names do help!! :)

  12. says

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