How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods

A healthy, balanced diet is vital for your child, especially as it provides them with essential nutrients needed for their continued growth and development. However, with fast food, ready meals and unhealthy snacks often being preferred to healthier choices, we know it can be tricky for parents to get children to eat healthy foods. Here’s some tips for encouraging kids to eat healthy foods and some ways to help them build a healthy relationship with food!

Why Are Healthy Foods Important?

Kids often crave processed fast food, sweets and chocolate, which are loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. Not only can these types of food cause weight and health problems, but they can also make your child feel sluggish and unmotivated. In fact, if a child doesn’t have enough nutrients in their diet, it may even cause learning development issues, growth issues and illnesses, especially as children’s immune systems are underdeveloped compared to adults. Encouraging kids to eat fruit, vegetables and other whole foods, will provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibres and proteins, which are all crucial for their growth and development.

How Can I Get My Kids To Eat Healthier?

Snack Smarter

Snacks are often where kids fall down when it comes to eating healthy food. It’s easy to choose a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps, over other options. In fact, snacks should be rich in protein and fibre to try and keep your child fuller for longer. Rotating a few healthy choices will keep snack time interesting and give your kids exposure to new foods that you can integrate into dinner and lunch as well. We also recommend always carrying snacks with you when you’re out and about, as this is when it’s easy to give in to convenience. Here’s some savoury and sweet snack ideas to get you started.

Sweet:

  • Nut Butter with Apple or Banana
  • Fresh Fruit (we like apple, mango, strawberries, pineapple, grapes and melon)

Savoury:

  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Carrot/Celery Sticks and Hummus
  • Whole-grain Crackers with Cheese
  • Lightly Salted Popcorn
  • Hard Boiled Eggs

Top Tip: Write out a quick plan of two snacks per day for your kids and stock up on bulk items such as nuts, carrots and fruit. Try to plan one sweet and one savoury snack per day to keep it fun.

Make Food Interesting

An easy way to get your kids to eat healthy foods is to make them appear a little bit more interesting. Whether that’s how you arrange it on the plate or what it’s served with - small changes can make healthy food appear much more appealing. For example, if your kids won't eat vegetables, experiment with condiments and dips such as ketchup, hummus, salsa, and yogurt.

Stop Buying

If it’s not in the house, then your children will be less likely to want to eat it. It’s important to consciously stop buying processed foods and unhealthy snacks and instead start buying fresher, whole ingredients that are more nutritionally dense. This way the whole family will not be tempted and it will quickly become normal to be eating healthy foods every day.

Be A Role Model

The childhood impulse to imitate is strong, so don’t ask your child to eat vegetables while you feast on crisps and takeaways. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you're sending.For example, if your children see you cooking regularly, they will not only learn valuable skills about healthy foods but will realise the importance of cooking nutritious meals from scratch. Being a good role model when it comes to eating healthy foods will be sure to have a positive influence on your kids.

Get Kids Involved In Food

An easy and often forgotten way to encourage kids to eat healthier foods is to get them involved. Whether this is with the food shopping, preparing meals or choosing what to cook for dinner from a recipe book- it’s all invaluable time you can teach them about different foods, how to read food labels and expose them to healthy alternatives to their junk food favourites. If they're old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables, weigh out ingredients or let them make something (with adult supervision) for the whole family to eat. When they help with cooking and preparing lunch and dinners, they’re also much more likely to want to eat it!

Allow Treats

Depriving your children of all less healthy foods will make them even more appealing, so it’s important to allow treats sometimes. Great times to do this is when you’re on holiday or if your child has achieved a really good grade at school. Just remember to remind your kids that special treats can only be had in moderation and shouldn’t be something they get to enjoy every day.

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