9 Ways to Get Your Kids Eating Healthier

Getting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge, especially if you have a picky eater. But there are things you can do that will definitely get your kids on a healthier track.

      1. Dump the junk. Parents often complain about how much junk their kids eat. Now I understand, you can’t control what they eat at school, birthday parties or over at a friend’s house, but you can control what’s in your own house. So if you want your kids to eat better, stock your kitchen with plenty of easy-to-grab fruits, cut veggies and good quality protein sources.
      2. Don’t get caught empty-handed. Keep healthy snacks in your car and purse so when hunger strikes, you’re prepared. Even snacks should be nutritious, made of real, whole food ingredients you can pronounce. Check out my free Healthy Snack List for ideas of what to buy on next grocery store visit.
      3. Plan healthy, balanced meals. I recommend an 80 percent plant-based diet made up of mostly vegetables and fruit along with some whole grains like quinoa and small legumes like lentils and garbanzo beans. But if you put a plate half-filled with vegetables in front of them, they’ll probably have a total meltdown. So take baby steps gradually increasing the amount of vegetables. Over time, seeing all those vegetables on their plate will become the norm and your kids will eventually eat more of them. If you need easy dinner ideas that your kids will love, try my Quinoa Bowl or Make-Your-Own Tacos.

      4. Don’t be a short-order cook. It’s hard enough cooking one healthy meal, much less two! And if you keep feeding your kids the same ‘ole foods over and over, they’ll continue to be picky eaters. You have to continually expose them to new foods and flavors to expand their palate. And the next time you go to a restaurant, avoid the kids’ menu like the plague. Just order something that you and your child can share and enjoy.
      5. Give your kids choices. The next time your children go to the store with you, ask them to choose the vegetables. Encourage them to pick a new one they haven’t tried and ask them to help you prepare it. All the more fun if they pick a vegetable you’ve never cooked yourself — head home, check out recipes online and make it for the first time together.
      6. Get kids helping in the kitchen. This is so important. Kids are always more willing to try foods they choose and help prepare. Depending on their age, they can help wash, cut, measure, stir, flip and season. Make it fun and welcome your child’s ideas. You’ll be surprised how open your kids become to trying new foods and flavors when they are allowed to be creative and put their stamp on it.
      7. Make veggies taste good. You don’t have to add fancy sauces or heavy seasonings (which most kids don’t like) to make steamed, sautéed or roasted veggies delicious. Just add some sea salt, a little cracked black pepper, extra virgin olive oil or a touch of organic ghee (clarified butter sold in health food stores) and your kids will eventually gobble them up. Just keep serving them, encourage them to try (offer them a little bribe if you must) and eventually they will realize vegetables aren’t so bad after all.
      8. If all else fails, start sneaking ‘em in. Take every opportunity to add greens and veggies to soups, stews, chilis, spaghetti sauce and of course your smoothies. You can actually add a lot of spinach without changing the flavor, so your kids won’t even notice how many veggies they’re really eating. But since our taste buds are replaced every two weeks, your kids will begin to develop a taste for vegetables and over time enjoy them more.
      9. Be a good role model. Now this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many parents don’t model good eating habits in front of their kids. If you’re constantly on a diet or have odd eating habits, then your kids will grow up thinking that’s normal. My best advice is to be mindful of your choices and know your kids watch what you do way more than they listen to what you say.

I promise, getting your kids to eat healthier foods IS possible. Just follow these simple steps, be consistent, and things should start turning around pretty quickly. Also, remember to download my free Healthy Snack List and let me know what your kids think of my two Easy Meal Ideas Kids Love.

Now, it’s your turn. Please share in the comment section below any tips or tricks you use to get your kids eating healthier. We can’t wait to hear!

Here’s to raising happy, healthy whipper-snappers!

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