Guest post by Hannah Tong
Mealtime can be a difficult time of day depending on how your kids eat. Some kids will eat everything in sight, and others will barely eat at all. Regardless of what type of kid you have, you worry about whether your kids are eating right all the time.
We are going to list five steps to make sure your kids eat more fruits and vegetables. If you follow these five easy tips, you will have your kids eating more fruits and veggies in no time.
1. Introduce Fruits and Veggies Early
There is no doubt in our minds that some of you have kids who are just plain picky. Some kids will not eat anything no matter what you put in front of them.
Some of you have kids who will eat, but they eat so little you begin to wonder if you created a human hummingbird. Most of us have kids who will eat pretty much anything with specific exceptions, and some of those exceptions are fruits and vegetables.
The best way we have found to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables is by introducing them to your children when you first introduce food to them. When you start feeding your kids baby food, make sure the majority of those foods are fruits and vegetables.
You want your kids to get used to eating fruits and vegetables early. They may not end up liking all the fruits and veggies you introduce to them, but they will learn to like enough of them to gain the nutrients they need to acquire from the ones they eat.
(Phil and Mama recommends new mommies start introducing a variety of delicious and safe foods when the baby is in the womb. If a pregnant mommy does not have nut or other allergies, eat those foods to prevent allergies in the growing baby...)
2. Take Control
We have to talk about some hard truths for a moment. If you are truly concerned about your kids eating enough fruits and vegetables, look at the foods you bring into your home and what your children are eating.
If you find your kids eat more junk food than fruits and vegetables, look at the ratio of fruits and vegetables to junk food in your house. If you are feeding your kids more junk food than fruits and vegetables, guess what they are going to want to eat. (Processed sugar and junk food are addictive!)
Instead of filling your child's lunch bag with tons of junk food and sugary drinks, try giving your child more fruit and vegetable type snacks. Your kids will eat what you provide for them if it is presented to them and they are hungry enough. Take control!
3. Prepare Your Own Meals
You want to be aware of what you are feeding your kids for dinner. If you are going out to buy fast food more than you are cooking, you might want to rethink that strategy if feeding your kids fruits and vegetables is really a priority for you.
You will find you save more money when you cook dinner every night, or most nights than you would buying take out. Besides, preparing your own meals provides you the unique opportunity to know exactly what you are eating on a regular basis. You cannot do that with take-out. The average consumer has no idea where their food is coming from.
4. Find a Good Disguise
Some kids are just hard to feed. These are the kids you will have to trick into eating what you want them to eat. We all have weird quirks about food. Some people love guacamole but absolutely will not eat avocados alone.
These types of quirks are what make us special and make parents nuts. Here is a great way to handle the quirky eater. Learn to disguise your food. Have you ever eaten broccoli with cheese on top?
This is a popular way to eat broccoli. This is the type of idea you need to follow to get your quirky eater to eat more fruits and vegetables. At breakfast time, you can make smoothies to introduce more fruit into your child's life. You can introduce vegetables in a quesadilla or some other unexpected dish.
The key is to serve the fruit or vegetable to your kids in a form that is different from the norm. No straight avocado! How about avocado in a burger, sandwich, or salad?
It is all about creativity.
5. Teach By Example
One of the best ways to teach your kids anything of importance is to model it for them. Teaching by example is a parent's most valuable secret weapon.
We all love to eat a really good bag of chips, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, we would like our kids to do better than us and grab that apple over the bag of chips. Though there is nothing wrong with eating a bag of cookies from time to time, it is important to show our kids, through our example, the importance of making good eating choices.
The more your children see you eat the salad instead of an oversized greasy burger, the more likely they will do the same. Pick up some strawberries, make fruit popsicles, and eat berries and grapes instead of candy.
Drink more water in front of your kids and offer it to them instead of soda. Watch what you eat in front of your children every day and take notes. If you find you are making bad food choices yourself, you may want to rethink your food strategy and change how you eat. Your kids will thank you for it when you are healthy and strong in your retirement years.
Our children's health is important to us all. We parents worry about everything when it comes to our kids. What they are eating every day is an easy thing to control. We simply have to take control of the situation.
They are still going to go out and eat all the candy they can stand when our backs are turned, but if we can teach them to desire the right foods, we will not have to worry so much.
These five steps to make sure your kids eat more fruits and vegetables are just a little push in the right direction for you and your family. Be creative!
Your kids can learn to love fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways.
About the Author
Thanks for stopping by with these great tips, Hannah!