Here are some imaginative ways to get your kids to eat more of the good stuff – and less of the bad stuff!
How to get your kids to eat a healthy diet
Never give up!
Kids can be very creative – especially in the ways they manage to avoid food they don’t like! But stick with it and keep offering different foods over time – even if they’ve been rejected once before.
Ask them to try!
We all know it can be a lot easier to give your kids the usual food they like for the sake of happier mealtimes. But, by asking them to try ‘just one bite’ and not forcing the issue, you may see some surprising results. Avoid making mealtime a battleground! If your kid refuses to eat something, just take it away until the next mealtimes.
Get them to cook!
Involve your kids in imaginative food preparation. Help them to choose nutritious dishes to make e.g. fruit salad. Help them understand how to do it e.g. show them how to prepare a fresh pineapple. They are likely to feel pretty proud of what they’ve produced – and they may just eat a few healthy ingredients along the way!
Buy a new cookbook!
Buy one for you and another for the kids, to give you all a few new ideas for imaginative healthy meals and snacks. And you never know – you may have just started the career of the next celebrity chef!
Make healthy foods more appealing (use your imagination)
Change the name of the dish!
Certain foods will be rejected simply because they conjure up a healthy image. So, rename a traditional healthy dish to make it appear more trendy and attractive! Add visual appeal and lots of colour to your dishes by disguising vegetables in different shapes and sizes.
Be creative and imaginative!
Your kids may reject a food in one form, but not in another. You can easily hide a healthy food within a new dish, e.g. milk in cheesy pasta, or vegetables in a casserole.
Make food look more exciting!
Kids eat with their eyes! Food can sometimes look pretty boring on its own, so use fresh garnishes to make it appear more attractive and to encourage your kids to eat well. Adding a few cucumber slices, chopped lettuce leaves, a bunch of cress or a slice of lemon can make all the difference.
Disguise or combine with foods that kids already love
Sneak foods into traditional dishes!
Grate carrots into a bolognese sauce, add puréed vegetables into tomato soup and stir shredded pumpkin and carrots into a cake mix. Be imaginative – what could you add to your kid’s favourite dishes?
Sometimes, the best option is the easiest
So go on, cheat! Give the kids a garden full of fruit and veg without them ever knowing! Instead of giving them a ‘boring’ piece of fruit, zap up bananas, strawberries, blueberries, carrots and pretty much anything else in a blender – to make delicious, nutritious smoothies.
Replace biscuits with healthy snacks
Chop up fruit and veggies, and keep them ready in the fridge; or put dried fruit or tangerines in places where you’d normally store biscuits and cakes. That way, hungry kids in a rush might shovel in a handful of whatever they come across first. If that’s a few sweet dried apricots, they’ll have gobbled up one portion of their 5-a-day in the blink of an eye!
Kids love sweets
No surprises there then! But this is half the problem – so use it to your advantage! Choose fruits that are sweet-sized and sweet tasting, like grapes and strawberries. If your kids just won’t eat fruit on its own, mix it into their favourite jelly or chop it into cereal.
The pressure to eat ‘trendy food’
Believe it or not, the peer pressure on your kids to eat ‘trendy’ foods is huge! So sometimes it’s good to cut them a little slack and let your kids eat them from time to time, as long as you try to ensure that most of the food they eat is wholesome and nutritious.