We don’t want our kids to give up on their favorite food. We just want to make it healthier. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it sounds because there is a twist to this tale. Time-honored tradition says that kids don’t like anything healthy. Rebellious as they are, they will always choose junk foods over the healthy competitors. So, how do we persuade our kids to eat healthy food over junk food?
Don’t have a junk food budget
Out of sight is out of mind, isn’t it? So, why not keep all the junk foods out of their reach and sight? Why do we even have a grocery budget for junk foods? Kids already have plenty of opportunities to feed their junk appetite on the way from home to school and vice versa. So, steer away from junk foods. They are bound to feel less tempted to feed on junk foods mindlessly. That being said, you can entertain occasional treat by getting the smallest package of that food.
Make healthy food easily accessible
By eliminating the junk food from the grocery budget, you have already won half the battle. Now, let’s make healthy food their first choice by stocking our fridge and kitchen cabinets with fruits and vegetables. In a way, you will be forcing healthy eating habits because they will have to eat what’s there in the kitchen. When hunger gets the better of them, a readily available bowl of fruit may seem like the whole world to them. So, stock healthy foods and serve them without an ounce of guilt.
Make Gradual Changes
Sudden changes can catch them off-guard, and they are sure to throw in a lot of resistance. So, introduce them to healthy foods gradually over a period of time to avoid the “yuck” look on their face. Maybe, you may want to change their breakfast first and then gradually move towards a new diet during lunch hours and subsequently change the dinner menu too. So, attain that turtle pace, instead of being a rabbit and then losing the race. Don’t forget to include different varieties to ensure that they stick to the new routine. You could be doing yourself a disservice by serving the same food many days in a row.
Sneak in the Veggies
Whether it’s a pizza or a chicken sandwich, you will get scores of opportunities to sneak in the veggies in them. Learn the art of mixing things well. Just disguise the veggies well so that they go unnoticed. You can use chopped vegetables or fruits as starters as they wait for the main course. Rename the veggies with some cool names. Believe it or not, cool names can instantly inform a normal food into a cool food. Studies have shown that kids eat more vegetables when they are introduced with a cool name. By sparking their imagination, their appetite gets sparked as well.
Be a Role Model
Don’t expect them to eat vegetables when you are constantly feeding on French fries and hot potato chips. So, don’t do exactly the opposite of what you advice to the kids. Make a conscious decision to lead by example by kissing goodbye to junk foods. Also, cook more food indoors as opposed to ordering from a restaurant. Model healthy eating habits and your kids will follow suit.
Don’t allow your kids’ diet to be built around takeout foods because of your hectic schedule. Parents often end up feeding their kids with unhealthy foods because it allows the family wheels to run smoothly. By changing our habits, we can teach kids to eat right from an early age.