Along with being nice to their siblings, one of the most important things
small children need to learn is how to make healthy food choices. Navigating
the food scene can be tricky for parents, but when your kids actually
want to eat their broccoli, you can focus on more important battles, like
getting them to clean up their bedrooms.
We’ve got some tips to help you make healthy eating more fun for
your little ones:
Think small. Tiny hands and mouths often appreciate tiny foods. Not only are they more
fun for your kids, they’re fun to make. If you’re in too much
of a hurry to cobble together some magnificently microscopic multigrain
pancakes, creating a plate of baby carrots, grape tomatoes and other tiny
veggies can work just as well.
Connect foods to heroes. When Timmy won’t eat an apple no matter how much you beg, you may
be able to convince him by connecting apple eating to one of his personal
heroes. Modeling the type of eating you’d like to see in your children
can go a long way, too, since they often will naturally mimic their parents.
Let your child cook. Inviting your kids into the kitchen may sound like a recipe for disaster,
but if children learn early how much fun cooking is, they’re going
to be even more excited to try their own creations. Even very small children
can help stir soups or handle whole ingredients — you might want
to wait until they’re a little older to teach knife handling skills.
Kids can be surprisingly open to healthy food, but only if they don’t
see that healthy food as a punishment. Never try to force new food on
your children, instead give them some time to adjust to tastes that might
be much more bitter or unusual to a kid’s palate. It might take
a couple of tries, but if you remain positive and show your child that
eating a vegetable or whole grain isn’t going to kill them, they’ll
If you keep a garden or have been thinking about container gardening, it
can be a great way to get kids interested in food. Start with easy plants
that will give them a lot of success, like green beans, and your children
will be eager to start a meal with the vegetables they grew themselves
just outside the kitchen door.