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25 Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthy

It’s beyond important to make sure you help your children maintain a healthy lifestyle, and that starts in the kitchen. It is very easy to overlook certain foods or drinks, and even easier to say things like, “yes you can have one more.” However, poor eating habits can lead to many health issues. Here are 25 tips for getting kids to eat healthy. 

  1. Lead by example
    Children are sponges. They absorb information and develop habits from those around them. They look up to you most. You can tell your children how good carrots are all day, but if they only see you eating chips, that may be what they gravitate towards.

  2. Encourage, don’t demand
    It seems very easy to tell your child to “eat your vegetables” when at the dinner table, but by nature, children tend to be rebellious. Telling them to do something might not have the same effect as explaining why they should do something. Perhaps try changing your delivery to a variation of, “eating your vegetables will make you as strong as dad when you grow up!”

  3. Allow a balanced diet
    You’ll read and hear things about balanced diets almost everywhere, but there is a reason behind it. When children grow, their bodies need essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This leads to better strength, less fatigue, better skin, and a stronger immune system. A balanced diet can help provide all that!

  4. Cut down on sweets and junk food
    Eliminating sweets is no fun. No one likes that. However, they should be cut back on when you can. Sugar can be bad enough, but there are a host of other fats and calories that add up to be a disaster over the years.

  5. Provide healthy snacks
    Everyone loves to snack, but what you or your kids snack on can make a huge difference. While junk food like chips and cookies should not be eliminated, replacing some of them with fruits and vegetables frequently should be considered. Also remember about being a role model: be careful what you eat in front of your kids.

  6. Mix the “bad” with the “good”
    Vegetables have a stigma of being gross to kids, but they can be disguised! Vegetables in a soup or stew changes the flavor profile to something even children can like. While they won’t be consuming the highest amount you’d like, it can be a start for the picky eaters!

  7. Get a routine going
    When I was growing up, dinner was at 6pm. Setting a time for the modern working family might be hard, but it is something that helps a lot. Kids will eat better when they know when to expect meals to be. Their bodies will fall into a routine just as well as their minds will.

  8. Cook more at home
    One of the best ways to know what kind of food your kids are getting is to make it yourself. If cooking is not your thing, that’s okay. I can mess up boiling water, but YouTube and blogs make things much easier. Take time to look over what is in the food you are making, and pick what you think is right!

  9. Consider meal delivery services
    If you don’t have time to go shopping, but still want to cook at home, there are quite a few companies that allow this to happen. You pick the meals that you want, and the ingredients and directions are shipped to your door!

  10. Be creative with meals
    Kids like things that are fun, playful, colorful, and so on. Make your food the same! Vegetables, fruits, sandwiches, and almost any meal can be turned into an edible work of art for your kids to eat. Sandwiches can be cut into fun shapes and fruit and vegetables can be arranged into something cute like a butterfly. Pinterest and Instagram can be some good inspiration.

  11. Provide smaller portions
    Sometimes you may just be giving your children too much without knowing. You want them to be full, and while your heart is in the right place, it could have negative effects. If you frequently find your child not being able to finish what’s on their plate, start cutting back on the portions by small amounts over time.

  12. Grow your own food
    While you probably won’t be harvesting enough to feed your family exclusively, growing food is a great way to show kids where fruits and vegetables come from. It can be a great family activity, cut down on some costs at the grocery store, and it yields healthy snacks!

  13. Eat a quality breakfast
    Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to allow your child to have a comfortable and productive day! Don’t overlook this meal.

  14. Variety is better
    Having a balanced meal is great, but you can technically have a balanced meal serving the same dish over and over again. Kids will hate that. Switch up the meats, vegetables, fruits, starches, and so on over the days. Don’t be boring!

  15. Take the kids shopping
    Another good way to get some different variety is take your kids shopping. Perhaps they will point out something you didn’t consider! If you are worried about having to say no to them when they ask for junk food, perhaps avoid those aisles. Make them feel like they are part of the process! Hold up two different brands or types of product (such as two different styles of pasta) and ask them which they would prefer.

  16. Get kids involved in cooking
    Kids are more interested in activities when they can become a part of them. Presenting them with a plate of veggies that look like a ladybug is great, but maybe get them to make one. Let them stir ingredients together and do other simple tasks. Kids are messy, so just be ready for a little extra clean up.

  17. Eat as a family
    There’s really no way to get around it: family is important. Even if it’s one parent and one child, eating with your family builds bonds and lifts emotions. Eating alone can bring you down emotionally over time, and that can lead to poor eating habits. Even if you’re busy, please make the time.

  18. Limit soda or unhealthy drink juices
    Soda is a terrible beverage for people at any age. Certain juices might not be any better. Like junk food, you don’t need to cut these drinks out completely, but it is a good idea to not let soda be a daily beverage.

  19. Drink water
    What you SHOULD encourage your children to consume is water. Water is boring, yes, but it is one of the most beneficial liquids to the human body. It rehydrates, is safe, and cheap (considering you can get it right from your tap). Other drinks are fine in moderation, but you should increase your child’s water intake.

  20. Encourage healthier menu items when out
    While cooking at home is best, eating out is easier and faster sometimes, and it’s a great treat for a family to do from time to time. While this could be a cheat day to eat what you want, if you do eat out a lot, it might be worth suggesting that your child get something healthy. You might have to make the sacrifice as well, because if you order something more appealing, it may seem unfair. Remember: lead by example.

  21. Don’t supersize
    It’s easy to say yes to a size upgrade at a fastfood restaurant. Don’t. While you shouldn’t let your child remain hungry, an oversized sugary soda and greasy fries is not the best choice.

  22. Find out how they like vegetables prepared
    If your children are complaining about vegetables, maybe they are just not a fan of the way they were prepared. When I was a kid, and still to this day, raw vegetables were always my favorite. Once my mom found that out, that’s what I got, and I loved it!

  23. Eat for energy
    Eating just to get full can mean eating anything, and that can lead to bad habits. If we break things down to the basics of the human body, we are supposed to eat to give the body what it needs, not what it wants. Try to focus on more nutritional food.

  24. Provide healthy dips and sauces
    What you cover your food with can change so much. Ranch can make a kid eat broccoli! However, make sure you are paying attention to the nutrition label on the item. Too much of it can completely counteract the benefits of the healthy food you’re covering.

  25. Be there for your kids
    The most important thing is to be there for your kids. Not just at the dinner table, but in general. Your kids need you. If you’re not around, that might lead to mental issues over time. While they might not be severe, even a slight change to the mind can lead to poor eating habits.
     

A balanced and nutritious diet is important for your children. While you don’t have to take away junk food entirely, make sure you lead by example, and give their growing bodies what they need. Their health will thank you in the future!

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