Some children are naturally healthy eaters, and others… not so much. Not only that, but their tastes are notoriously fickle, and a child who is a voracious eater of all things healthy one year, may do an about-face the next, refusing to eat anything remotely nutritious.
But, regardless of our children’s frustratingly persnickety palates, it’s our job to make sure they get adequate nutrition, and develop healthy eating habits that will sustain them throughout the rest of their lives. And, let’s face it: sometimes accomplishing our parental duties involves trickery.
So, how can you trick your kids into eating healthy?
Get Out the Juicer
Making juices or smoothies is an easy way to get your youngsters to eat their greens. Even staunch little boycotters of all things leafy won’t be able to resist spinach or kale when it’s been blended with blueberries, bananas, pineapple, and other delicious fruits.
Give Them Something to Do
Young kids love helping out in the kitchen, and letting them stir, crack eggs, peel carrots, or carefully drop veggies into the mouth of the juicer will make them feel like they had a hand in making a gourmet treat. They’ll eat just about anything they helped make. Get them a mini chef’s hat, and there is little you won’t be able to get them to at least try.
OK, this might not seem like much of a trick, but children are naturally curious about the world around them. Start a garden with them, so they can see where their veggies come from, and how they grow. Do some research with them about the nutrients in healthful foods, and how they benefit growing bodies. You might be surprised at how their attitudes change when given reasons for eating their greens other than, “Because I said so!”
Under the Radar
They don’t have to know about the cauliflower puree in that macaroni and cheese. Nor do they have to be aware that you’ve secretly put a blend of butternut squash and zucchini into their spaghetti. If you absolutely can’t get them to eat their veggies any other way, then artifice is always an option.
Set a Good Example
Your kids are not going to want to eat healthy if you’re not doing so, so it’s important that you take your own advice, especially when they’re around. Not to say that you can’t keep a private stash of chocolate truffles around for the occasional indulgence. Just make sure to cultivate healthy eating habits, and your children will follow.
Don’t Buy Unhealthy Food
This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you really want your kids to eat healthy, don’t buy unhealthy foods. It’s not like young kids can go down to the store and buy their own soda and potato chips. True, they might get ahold of some junk food at a friend’s house or at school, but the more you use your influence at home to shape good habits, the less they will stray from them when given the choice… you hope.
[Photo credit: people.ucsc]