How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy

Most parents and caregivers can agree that getting kids, especially young ones, to eat healthy can be a constant challenge. They don’t want to try new things and when they do, they can be put off by the texture or the taste, or even something else. Here are some tips that have worked for me or a family member:

Rule #1: Don’t force them to eat certain things! It doesn’t get you anywhere and may even backfire.

Rule #2: OFFER all foods by asking them if they want it and/or placing a small amount on their plate. The more the food is mentioned, the more likely they are to at least say yes at some point.

Rule #3: Make the food appealing or attractive in some way. Entice them. For example, with broccoli, I told my nephews that it looked like a little tree that they could eat. It still took a while for them to try it but the tree thing intrigued them and helped them get used to the idea.

Rule #4: If they really don’t like a certain food, don’t force them to eat it. They may learn to like it later on and you can certainly keep offering it to them, but if they’ve already tried it and say they don’t like it, don’t force them to eat it.

Some other ideas:

  • Hide the healthier foods in the less healthy food that they like. Go with this age-old idea of hiding it in their other food. You can mix small pieces of veggies and meat into scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese (or other pasta dishes), spaghetti or other kinds of sauces, breads/muffins that you make yourself, etc. The ideas are endless. Now, I realize that you’re not going to “fool” all kids this way but it’s an idea for some that are picky but not super picky.
  • Put it in front of them without saying anything. Serve their veggies on their plate along with their other food without offering it or mentioning it beforehand.
  • Tell them that they need to at least take a bite of it. This can go hand-in-hand with the previous idea. Say they need to try it before they make a decision about it. If they finish the rest of their food and want more of those, make a deal with them that if they eat their veggies, they can have seconds of the other dishes.

Children will learn to view it as their choice which makes them feel as if they have more control over what they are eating and is usually more constructive long-term as well. Sure, it may take longer for them to even try a food let alone actually eat it, but it gives them a much more positive view of healthy eating… particularly regarding vegetables.

I have used these tactics with my four-and three-year-old nephews for at least a couple years now and have much better results than when forcing them to eat certain fruits and vegetables. My mom also did this with my siblings and I when we were younger and I fully believe that it helped us enjoy healthy foods more. My sister and I especially like a variety of fruits and vegetables. My brother likes a few too, just not as much as us girls. I know for sure that what my mom did helped me and now I love all kinds of healthy foods that even she doesn’t particularly like.

My opinion is that the better a view of healthy eating that your kids have, the better it will serve them and your whole family. So teach them about healthy living and simply encourage them to live a healthier life. Most of the time it doesn’t have to be rocket science to teach our kids good habits!

What do you do with your own children to get them to eat healthier, drink more water, or exercise?

 

~Bonnie~

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It Feels Like Fall!

fall leaves benches

Despite the calendar saying it was fall last week, it didn’t truly feel like fall to me until a couple days ago.

The chill that calls for sweatshirts, the crisp smell of fall in the air. I can’t quite describe that smell, as it’s beautiful and peaceful beyond words, and reminds me of all the promises of fall:

The leaves on the trees changing to gorgeous fiery colors, cozy and warm sweatshirts and blankets, the crisp feel of the air on my skin, cuddling with my nephews and cat, curling up with a good book and feeling the peace wash over me, and of course who can forget about Halloween! It always reminds me of childhood and ignites a desire in me to don a cute costume and go trick-or-treating.

There’s just something about pumpkins and Halloween decorations everywhere that signifies childhood and fall festivities to me. Fun Jack-o-lantern faces on display, blow up ghosts and black cats or witches in front yards, those RIP headstones and bodies sticking out of the ground! So much fun to be had!

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I never was one to enjoy jumping into a pile of leaves every year, but who knows… Maybe I’ll do that this year with my nephews. In fact now that I think about it, I really want to give them that experience. I know they will have a blast. I’m seriously imagining that carefree launch into a fluffy pile of soft and colorful leaves! The one memory I have of doing this is in my grandparents’ front yard at around 11-12 years old. It was so much fun, and my brother and I enjoyed it!

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons because it was cooler and I loved the comfort of sweatshirts. There are also some practical aspects such as the bug population decreasing, less heat and humidity, and the winds clearing the air and making it fresher.

Not to mention drinking hot beverages is so much more enjoyable, whether you’re a coffee or tea drinker or even hot cocoa… it always tastes better and hits the spot when it’s cold and you’re trying to get warm! I love the feeling of drinking hot coffee on a cold morning!

Plus, who doesn’t love taking a walk or a trip to the park in the middle of the day and not feeling like you’re going to die from the heat or humidity? I love that feeling too. It truly feels like freedom!

So what do you all love about fall? I know there are so many more aspects of fall that I couldn’t even touch on in this post, and I’d love to hear from you!

~Bonnie~