Between my two kids, Ainsley (pictured above) and Garrett, Garrett (3) is the more picky eater. His favorite thing to eat is peanut butter. His second favorite? Honey. Not exactly rounding out the four basic food groups, huh? In order to get our kids to try different foods, we have a few strategies that we go by.
A Family Tradition
Call it a rule if you like, but substitute the word “tradition” and you have instant marketing appeal. It is a “tradition” at our home that you must try one bite of each of the foods offered on the table.
Food is Fuel
My husband and I talk with our kids often about how our food is our fuel. Here’s a sample conversation.
“Garrett, tell me what you don’t like about being sick.” I can’t play with friends. I can’t go outside. I miss out on going to church.“We want to eat the right kind of fuel that will keep our bodies strong.”
And what about sweets? It’s okay to eat sweets sometimes, but there has to be a balance. Eating is all about getting the nutrients you need to fuel your body, so that it can work the way God designed it.
I know a lot of parents who “hide” healthy foods in things like smoothies or muffins and never mention it to their kids. I don’t like labeling my kids with the preconceived notion that if it is good for them, they won’t eat it. We tell them when spinach is going in the smoothie. They still eat it. (Try my Shrek Sorbet or Mojito Smoothie. Find more Kid-Friendly Recipes HERE.) When you talk about the nutritional wealth of foods, your kids will listen, especially if you are setting the example. I was explaining to my daughter Ainsley (6) once about the nutrients in carrots. As we munched on our carrot sticks, I explained how carrots contain nutrients that will help her have strong, healthy eyes and good vision. To help get this point across, I put a blindfold on her for a few minutes. I asked her: What would it be like to not have good vision? What would you miss seeing?
- Keep presenting foods to your kids. Just because they didn’t like something two weeks ago doesn’t mean they won’t like it now.
- Don’t label something you don’t like as “gross.” Your child has his own taste buds. Offer foods that you aren’t crazy about. He might love them!
- Shop together. Have your children help you pick out fruits and vegetables to prepare.
- Work together in the kitchen. Kids love to eat what they make.
- Have at least one thing on the table that you know they will enjoy eating.
As always, the best way to get your child to eat healthy foods is to make sure that you are doing just that. If they see you scarfing down chips, cookies, and crackers, and guzzling sodas, then they will want to do the same. Check out these simple and easy snack ideas.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand.