Making sure your kids eat healthy and get proper nutrition can be tough. When we are ourselves often tempted with indulgent foods like pizza or cake, it can seem overwhelming to convince kids to make good dietary choices. On the other hand, getting kids to eat healthy food can be fun, as long as families are able to plan and explore new options.
Making food an adventure that kids get to participate in can help go a long way. Our Save Summer theme this week is “explore”. Try exploring with food by going to the store or farmer’s market and buying vegetables your family hasn’t tried before. You can even design it as a treasure hunt- send the little ones off to find the most exotic prize.
Food education is a big part of helping kids to be healthier. Teaching children about fat, sugar and salt can help them realize that junk food is no good. Getting enough vitamins and minerals on the other hand is great! You can even design an “eat this, not that” style of game that involves kids deciding whether a food is good for them.
Portion sizes are an important consideration as well. Pre packed snacks, along with a variety of options, can help kids feel less overwhelmed in the kitchen. Being able to grab a small container with a few choices of snacks will empower them.
Getting the whole family involved in the kitchen will help too. Let the little ones toss together ingredients for a salad, and let them name and serve it to the table. Chopping vegetables for kebabs is another fun idea to get kids involved in preparing wholesome meals.
Also remember to help young people to recognize the connection between food and emotion. Teach them that healthy food makes them feel good, and unhealthy food makes them grumpy or tired. Ask them how they feel after every meal, and remind them how good food equals good moods!
The final tip is the classic trickster method. A handful of greens in their pasta, extra veggies on pizza, and baked bites over traditional fried ones. Enjoy and don’t forget to explore your appetite!