How Do I get My Kids to Eat Healthier? — No Shoes Nutrition | Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant + Coach
Family Friendly Health Tips
Meghan Prescott and I have been asking our followers to send in questions about their nutrition concerns. This was a question I wanted to follow up on a bit more because I hear this from parents all the time. I would love to be able to role back the clock and start over with some families. It’s hard to believe the kids just woke up one day and refused to eat anything but grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken fingers and fries. How did it get to this point? I know each family has their food struggles so here are some tips to help work around the past and move into a healthier future.
First, as a parent we need to eat healthy first. Our kids will follow what we do and see us feeling good and living a healthy life. We need to be their first role models. I often talk to adults who tell me they have the same illnesses/struggles as their parents did and feel it must be genetics – or perhaps it can be related to the fact that they eat similarly, and they have similar lifestyles because that’s who we learn from! It’s important to set as good as example as possible and that mean show our children what moderation means NOT cutting ourselves completely off from fun foods!
Secondly, I talk to many parents that worry that their children aren’t getting enough vegetables. Heck, I worry I’m not getting enough too! So, what I do for myself I do for my kids! I get creative. When I am making a soup or a sauce, I blend in some extra greens or cooked veggies. I make tasty smoothies with extra veggies packed in. Spaghetti sauce and blended dips and soups are the easiest ways to get a little extra in the bellies of the whole family!
Third, get the kids prepping and cooking! The more the whole family is involved in the preparation and cooking the more they will be willing to try things. I love bringing home the groceries and getting the kids to peel carrots, wash celery, chop up cauliflower and broccoli. As they chop they taste and feel and experience. They also put their lunches together for school and know they need a protein, some carbs and some fats. This gets them thinking about balancing their meals and helps them keep their energy up all day at school!
The fourth thing I want to touch on is the sensitive subject of not letting meals become a battle ground. It’s up to us as parents to provide healthy options but it should be up to the child to decided how much they are going to eat. Not being able to leave the table unless the plate is clean, not having the option to not like a food can set children up to develop a terrible relationship with food. I suggest having a no thank you bite. If a child at least tries the food you provide, they can take one bite and say no thank you. It’s always a good idea to make sure there is at least one item on the plate that you know they will definitely eat and like. When introducing a new food, just put one bite on the plate and if they want to try more it’s a great way to praise them and build their relationship with food.
And finally, limit the processed, sugary and refined foods so that these slowly leave the house and only return as “treats”. If a child is used to eating these foods they car biochemically going to want more of these foods. Make the decision to slowly remove the treat foods from the pantry can help the entire family slowly make the transition to eating healthier. Ensuring that there are health quick snacks to grab like fruits and chopped veggies and adding healthier versions of cookies and snack bars can make the transition fun as baking together is a fun family activity!
These are just some quick tips to help families get their eating on track. Post your questions below if you would like specific suggestions for your families needs. If you are struggling to get your family on board with healthy eating let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We at No Shoes Nutrition work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!