Do you want your kids to eat healthier? Most kids will eat what is available to them. They might complain about it, but they will generally learn to eat something out of the foods that you buy. (This can be trickier with children with special needs, but there is still some truth that your child is more likely to eat healthy foods if that is what you regularly have to offer as compared to if you often buy non-healthy foods and have things like chips, cookies, and sugary treats available.)
It’s also important to manage when food is available. This is not to say that you can’t ever give in when your child comes to you saying he or she is hungry. But, it’s important to be aware of how eating at random times can make it less likely that your child will eat the healthy food that you offer at a scheduled meal or snack time.
Follow these suggestions to get your kids to be healthier eaters:
- Make fruits and vegetables part of your daily meals and snacks. Offer various fruits and vegetables for two to three snacks per day. Add fruits or vegetables to every meal.
- Make it easy to choose healthy snacks. For example, have apples or oranges in an easily accessible location. Have vegetables, like carrots or bell peppers, cut up and put in a container where it will be easy for you and your kids to grab.
- Limit breads and cereals, but when you choose these foods, choose whole-grain.
- Limit fast food outings. Evaluate how often you are currently feeding your kids fast food and decrease this by a certain number of times per week or month. For instance, if you usually go to fast food twice a week, try only going once per week.
- Add more lean meats and healthy proteins to your meals and snacks. For instance, have more fish, beans, eggs, and various types of nuts.
- Increase water intake. Have your kids drink more water and keep pop (soda) and sugary drinks for special occasions.