“Hey, Morela! Today, I’m asking you for help with something that keeps getting more frustrating for me. Every time lunch or dinner time rolls around, I find myself in a complete daze because my kids are picky eaters who refuse to eat healthy food! Can you please give me some tips on how to motivate kids to eat healthily more often?”
The primary reason why kids don’t always eat the food they’re served is that they aren’t entirely open to trying new dishes every other day. They like to stick with the fried or junk food that all looks more or less the same. Moreover, when they’re specifically told to do something, for some reason, most kids tend to resist those commands. Therefore, getting your kids to eat healthy food is a dramatic battle that parents end up losing more often than not.
However, the key to changing this routine is to stop forcing the act like you might have been doing up until now and implement new techniques to win the battles without letting them feel it. If you’re wondering how to do that, I can help you out with my personal five tips that have been a huge success for me from the beginning!
Keep Your Focus on the Whole Family’s Diet
The first mistake many parents make, which plays a massive role in messing up their kids’ eating habits, is making two types of food – one for themselves (which they think their children wouldn’t eat) and one for their kids. When you allow your children the space to think that what you’re eating is not good or tasty enough for them, that’s precisely where the problems start.
Therefore, it’s best to keep your focus on preparing one meal for the whole family from the very beginning. After all, you are your children’s role model, and they learn from what you do before following in your footsteps.
Always Offer Choices
When you’re preparing the same food for everyone, you also need to bring in variety. For example, you can freeze some healthy soups in your freezer in advance and add them to your meals at times. Moreover, preparing some bread or kids’ favorite homemade sauces or dips with food is also an effective way to encourage your kids to eat the dishes they find bland or unappealing.
Cook One Thing in Different Ways
Another thing you can do to motivate kids to eat healthily is to cook one thing in various ways. For instance, if your children don’t like a particular veggie cooked in one way, you must keep trying by following different recipes until you succeed one way or another instead of giving up.
Make Healthy Snacks Available at All Times
Furthermore, it’s best to keep your children’s diet portions small so that they have something to eat every three to four hours. The snack choices should be healthy, diverse, and readily available at all times, and you should consume them yourself now and then so the kids know they’re not being singled out.
While traveling, you can keep a cooler in your car with fresh carrots, cheese, and such snacks, so you can all avoid eating junk food as a family.
Give Them Behind-the-Scenes Experience
Children are curious by nature. Therefore, when they experience the whole food serving process from the beginning, they’re more enthusiastic about eating their food. For example, you can take them shopping with you at the farmer’s market, letting them explore different shapes and colors themselves to spark their curiosity. Afterward, you can involve them in the cooking process to further broaden their interest. Ultimately, they’ll want to see and even appreciate the taste of different foods gradually.
Lastly, it’s best not to force your kids to eat healthy all year round, allowing them to indulge in their junk food cravings now and then so that they don’t feel fed up with their healthy diet. Remember, regulating consistency in balanced doses is the key here!