How to Get Your Kids to at Least TRY Healthy Food
We are all faced with the dilemma of wanting kids to eat healthy but not knowing how to inspire them to want to. I have a home daycare and believe me, I face this struggle. I serve lots of raw and cooked fruits and veggies but many of my kids come to Little Sprouts with the taste for Mickey D’s and not carrot sticks. So what do I do?
The first thing you need to remember is that a food is new until you have served it at least 11 times. Don’t GIVE UP! Keep on offering those tasty nutritious foods until the kids are used to seeing them. You’ll be surprised how many kids just decide one day to try something after rejecting it multiple times.
Secondly, are you modeling good eating habits? You won’t be able to convince little Johnny to drink water when you are having Dr. Pepper. Little Johnny wants to be just like YOU! So make lots of healthy foods that you like to eat and soon little Johnny will want to try what you’re having. One big way I get kids to ask to try something is to nibble on it a bit in front of them while I’m prepping lunch. They see that I’m having fun and want to join in. It’s a great inspiration.
Do you have trouble wanting healthy foods too? I can understand that, I used to hate everything but corn. But now I can’t imagine eating like that when there is so much tasty goodness to be had. I just learned that if you don’t like a certain food, you haven’t tried it the right way yet. You can boil, steam, mash, fry, sauté, and roast a veggie and it tastes different each way. Keep trying it until you have exhausted all avenues of flavor. Roasted vegetables are really delicious. I just cut them up, toss a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and roast them in the oven until they are lightly browned. I love broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, summer and winter squashes, asparagus, and many other veggies prepared this way. Amazing! Be patient with yourself, you will be surprised at how your tastes can change as well.
Another important thing to mention is that kids, just like us, eat with our eyes first. So make sure the healthy stuff looks inviting. Serve some raw and some cooked, some hot and some cold, some crunchy and some soft, and some different colors on the plate for the most appealing meal possible.
Kids LOVE to eat things they helped prepare. If you let the kids lend and helping hand making lunch, they will be excited to get to lunch time. I have seen child after child shun a food and then be eager to try it after they get to help cut it up or mix up a recipe. It works, trust me.