As your baby enters the toddler phase, slowly the tantrums and unruliness will also set in. And a big struggle starting from this time would be to convince your little one to eat healthy. The task becomes harder as they grow older and more rebellious.
If your child is a picky eater, you have our sympathies. We know how hard it is to get your little ones to eat. And getting them to eat healthy food is a herculean task for most parents. With the number of unhealthy food and snack options available in the market, it’s almost impossible to convince kids to eat nutritious food. It’s becoming more difficult because unhealthy food is being marketed as good, healthy, and quick food options, encouraging many kids to be drawn to them. Unfortunately, kids start to make a fuss about only wanting unhealthy food, which could lead to health complications as they grow up. So, today, we are here with seven life hacks for you to help your children consume nutritious food:
1. Choose Healthier Alternatives Of Food They Already Love
Say your child loves to eat creamy pasta. Instead of cooking them the ready-to-make pasta from the packet, try to make your own healthier version of it. You could use whole wheat pasta instead of the maida one. Add mozzarella cheese and tons of veggies to it. Try not to include bacon, beef, or any other highly caloric meat. You can add eggs, chicken, or tofu to it to make it a yummy treat for your kids.
Similarly, for many other popular food items healthier ways of preparing are always there. If you’re lost for ideas you can always look for ideas up on YouTube or just google it.
2. Present The Food In Fun Shapes
Kids love anything colorful! It grabs their attention and excites them. So when you’re making a sandwich for your child, cut them into fun shapes and sizes. You can add a smiley face, make some ears or add a hat to the food. Animals, numbers, cartoons, or even fun shapes can do wonders! Little ones will enjoy their meals, and you don’t have to struggle to make them eat their healthy snacks.
3. Trick Them By Using Fictional Characters
You might think that cartoons, television, and video games are a distraction for children while eating. However, studies show that it helped kids improve their eating habits (1). So, if you want your child to drink their milk, an excellent way to trick them would be to tell them that their favorite superhero loves it.
You can also use utensils, cups and bottles with their favorite cartoon characters. That will keep them interested and engaged and before they know it, they’ll just eat the food while having fun and enjoyment.
4. Make Them A Part Of The Process
When you go grocery shopping, take your kids with you. Give them healthy options to choose from and let them pick. Since you are giving them a choice, it makes them feel like they have control over what they’re eating. You can also include them in the cooking process. One study showed that kids who were a part of the cooking process were more likely to choose healthy food options (2). Getting to watch and take part in making food will help them understand the whole process and chances are they’ll appreciate the finished product more. Besides, you might also help them discover their love for cooking and have your very own Master Chef Junior!
5. Secretly Add Veggies To Their Diet
Kids are smart, but you’re smarter! When you’re preparing your kids’ meals, add vegetables to the mix without letting them know. It’s simple. You could make some healthy hummus dip with carrot and beetroot. Serve it as a dip with some cheese, celery sticks, or baked chips. Another way to trick your child is by making them colorful smoothies by adding a bunch of veggies. Several easy and delicious recipes are available on the internet, so go on and start juicing!
6. Make Healthy Snacking Options Easy
When we’re really hungry even the things we usually consider bland and tasteless suddenly start feeling tasty. This is something that parents can capitalize on to feed healthy food to their kids. When your kids come back home after a long and tiring day at school, they are probably starving. They want to grab the first thing they can get their hands on to satisfy their hunger. It’s a great opportunity for you to provide them with healthy snacking options. So, cut up some fruits and veggies and place them in the refrigerator beforehand. Your kids will be snacking on them without a second thought
7. Talk Up Healthy Food
If you observe the narrative around healthy food, you’ll notice how it is marketed as something that tastes yucky but is necessary for good health. However, junk food, on the other hand, is glorified as the tastiest food one will ever have. It’s time to change that narrative! Speak to your kids positively about healthy food, so they develop a liking towards it right from the start. Try following the approach of saying things like, “Broccoli is so yummy”, instead of “Eat this because it’s good for you”. Also, ensure you are eating your veggies because kids pick up on your habits too!
It’s not always easy to make your kids choose healthy food options and enjoy them. But with a bit of practice and mindfulness, you might end up being victorious in your attempts to make healthy food a regular undertaking among your kids. Besides, once your kids build good and healthy food habits, they start disliking too much unhealthy food. You can be sure that they’ll choose healthier alternatives almost always. How do you feed your kids nutritious food when they refuse to consume them? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!
- The Impact of Exposure to Cartoons Promoting Healthy Eating on Children’s Food Preferences and Choices
- Kids who cook are hungrier for healthy food choices