Admit it, we’ve all gone through the eternal struggle of choosing either that green salad or the cheeseburger. And more often than not, the cheeseburger wins the battle!
When we as adults have such a hard time staying away from yummy but ultimately unhealthy food, can you really blame the little ones from wanting chips and chocolate instead of fruits and nuts? But what we can do is make healthy food yummy and fun for them instead of forcing them to eat that piece of broccoli!
Let’s take a look at how we can make healthy food go from ‘ho-hum’ to ‘va-vooom!” shall we?
- Get them involved
Kids can be inspired to eat healthy when they are part of the planning process. Involve them when you go grocery shopping, and let them put things in the basket as per the grocery list. Take them out to that farmer’s market or let them accompany you when you’re planting something new in your vegetable garden at home. This will make them feel more responsible when and more connected when you cook that healthy snack for them. The more the involvement, the less you have to battle them into eating the meal!
- Choices, Choices!
Kids love it when you give them the power to choose between things. Just make sure that you do it within reason and the foods that they have to choose from are actually healthy snacks and not things that are overladen with sugar! Give them more room to choose as they get older, and this way you will not get into a power struggle with your kids about healthy food or food in general.
- Food or art?
Why not both? Get creative with food. You don’t have to be a top chef to turn something as simple as a whet pancake into a breakfast pop! If you have a dearth of ideas, there are plenty of creative ideas out there on the Internet than can turn your boring looking spinach wrap into an alligator! Give it a go and see how fast your little one gobbles it up.
- Hide and Sneak
You can also sneak in healthy substitutes into your child’s meals. Replace bottled juice with homemade smoothies or juices, replace white sugar with brown sugar or suggest making pizza at home together rather than ordering in. Instead of regular potato chips, get baked tortilla chips and salsa. This will enable your child to have the things they like, but in a healthier setting.
- Grab and Go!
Always keep healthy food at hand. Children usually eat what’s available, so keep fruit in a bowl on the counter and also eat healthy when you snack. The occasional chips or burger treat won’t feel as heavy when you know that the family has been eating healthy otherwise.
- No Labels Please!
More importantly, don’t make them feel guilty about wanting the food that they like. Don’t label food as good or bad, but instead, tell them how certain foods would benefit them better by making them stronger at sports or helping them focus in class.
And remember that it’s okay to indulge once in a while. So pack that picnic basket, get out there in the sunshine and have a good time with your little ones!
Written by: Arathi Aravind