We’ve all seen commercials that have little kids turning up their noses at the sight of a particular kind of fruit or vegetable. Indeed, if most children could choose between a plate of cookies and candy or carrots and grapes, they would probably go with the first option. Yet, we all know that they need their vitamins and minerals, especially during their development years, and so a ton of sugar is not going to get the job done.
Still, you don’t want the thought of eating healthy foods to be something that they loathe. So, how can you make the experience of eating fruits and vegetables more exciting for the kids in your life? Below are five proven ways to do just that:
Limit their (junk food) options
The reality is that a lot of kids wouldn’t even long for junk food if it wasn’t ever a part of their daily diet. A big way that you can get a jump on making fruits and vegetables a more enjoyable experience for your kids is by severely limiting the amount of candy, cake, potato chips and fast food meals that they eat from the very beginning. If the thought of something sweet has always been apples dipped in yogurt to them, then it won’t be as hard to get them to eat peaches or pears too.
Build a garden
When it comes to the saying, “When you know better you do better”, this doesn’t just apply to adults. One of the best ways to explain to kids the importance of eating healthy is to incorporate activities that will teach them all about it. One option is to start a garden. You can build one in your back yard, or you can grow some foods from a mason jar in your kitchen. TLC.HowStuffWorks.com has a list of 66 things that you can grow indoors. Simply go to their website and put “66 things” in their search engine for more information.
Let them cook with you
Another way that you can make eating healthy fun for your kids is to allow them to cook with you. If they are really young, let them stir recipes in mixing bowls. If they are older, encourage them to find some recipes of their own. American and international dishes are both fun, but if they happen upon a website like Shahiya.com, just let them know that it’s not in English and they might want to create their own dish by looking at some of the pictures (yes, it’s good to encourage experimentation as well!). You can even turn on your video camera and tape them cooking so that they can feel like they are hosting their very own cooking program.
Try something new
Sometimes kids don’t like eating healthy because they think it’s boring. Honestly, after eating nothing but corn and green beans for weeks on end, they could have a valid point. There are dozens upon dozens of eating options in both the vegetable and fruit families. So, encourage your children to look up some foods that they haven’t tried before, so that the entire family can test them out.
Set a good example
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect your child to eat their salads while you’re sitting next to them with a bag of French fries. Parents are extremely influential when it comes to the effect that they have on their children. If you want your child to eat healthy, make sure that you make a concerted effort to lead by example.