Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthier Foods - dummies

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthier Foods

By Meri Reffetto

Parents really can help their kids eat better — whether they’re following a low-glycemic diet or not — and the process doesn’t have to be unpleasant. In fact, it can actually be a blast for you and your kids. Following are some tips for increasing your children’s interest in healthy foods in a fun way:

  • Bring your kids grocery shopping occasionally. This idea may sound like a nightmare, but it can be beneficial at times. While you’re in the produce section, let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. Kids are more interested in trying new foods when they get to pick them out.

  • Prepare meals together. Let your children be a part of the meal-preparation process. Whether they mix something in a bowl or pour a sauce, they’ll be happier to eat and more willing to try a meal when they played a part in making it.

  • Incorporate “fun foods.” Kids are drawn to foods that have different shapes and bright colors. Many fruits, including kiwi and star fruit, fall into this category. If you have a creative side, let it loose! Instead of handing your child a whole orange, break it up into pieces and make a smiley face on the plate. You’ll be amazed what some simple creativity can do.

  • Make desserts healthy. Believe it or not, you can have dessert and make it healthy, too. Instead of depending on store-bought cookies and candy (which provide minimal nutrients), try serving fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate sauce, a fruit smoothie, or a berry cobbler. These lower-glycemic choices may have some sugar, but they also contain nutrients. Everything is healthy in moderation.

  • Allow candy occasionally and in moderation. Candy should be a once-in-a-while treat, not a go-to snack. When your child really wants candy, forgo giving her a whole candy bar and try sprinkling a few M&M’s in 1 ounce of trail mix instead. Also, avoid using candy and other sweets as rewards for good behavior; playtime in the park and fun family outings are better, more active reward alternatives.

Be a role model for your children. If you eat healthy and engage in physical activity you enjoy, your children will likely do the same. Encouraging physical activity and healthy food choices during childhood helps build these habits for a lifetime.