Mommin’ isn’t always easy, but getting our kids to eat well doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep reading to find just a few practical steps to help your kids enjoy healthy eating.
As a former Nutrition Counselor for mothers and young children I have spend many hours discussing children’s diets and mothers frustrations on trying to get their kids to eat healthy foods. I get it, battling a toddler 3 times a day to eat what you are giving them is exhausting! But it doesn’t have to be! Here are 5 simple steps to help you feel equipped for the task.
Simple Steps To Improve Your Child’s Diet
Operate as a family not a restaurant
Don’t make more work for yourself by cooking a separate meal for each person at the table! You are a mother not a personal chef. Make one meal for the whole family and only provide options if you have multiple side dishes.
We have to change our thinking around certain meals being “kids meals” like chicken nugget and fries or “adult meals” being eggplant parmesan. Almost every meal, as simple or extravagant as you want to make it can be appropriate for any age.
As are most things with parenting, we as the adults have to be consistent with our changes. We can’t expect our children to adjust if we don’t provide consistency.
If your child doesn’t want to eat the meal provided let them know they do not have to eat it but there will not be other things provided and it would be a pretty big bummer to have to go to bed with a rumbling tummy!
It might sound cruel, but trust me, kids are smart and resilient! They will learn within a few meals that eating the food provided is worth it!
Make Food Fun and Appealing
This might sound obvious, but even I have to change things up a bit if my girls aren’t eating the food I make.
A good example of this happened a few weeks ago when I made a ham for a little dinner party I hosted. Ham isn’t a food we eat often and my girls instantly turned their noses up at the little pieces of meat I placed on their plate.
Instead of losing hope or threatening them I asked if they wanted something to dip their ham in. Bingo! With a squirt of ketchup they ate their whole plate.
Be Prepared for the Eating “Witching Hour“
If you are a parent, you have experienced this dilemma. The moment you step into your kitchen to prepare dinner, or the minute your roast goes into the oven your children are all of a sudden starving and need to eat ASAP!
Don’t attempt to silence the moaning and groaning of your hangry spawn with a bag of crackers or nutrient lacking snacks. Instead, have something healthy on hand that you wouldn’t mind them eating- maybe some cut up cucumbers and carrots with ranch, or an avocado ready to be sliced and let them have at it!
Kids love the “help yourself” aspect of these options and most likely will just take a few nibbles and scurry on their way.
My personal favorite is offering my oldest daughter left over veggies from the night before! If they are truly hungry they will gladly take the food provided for them.
If you are not familiar with Love and Logic, get familiar! Love and Logic teaches us all about empowering our kids to make good choices and these principles can be applied to the way we feed them as well.
If your kid struggles with eating veggies try making two different veggies and let them decide which one they get to eat. This gives them a sense of control and they will be more likely to try new things as a result.
Remember, the most important thing is to not lose hope! Make small practical changes, stay consistent and I promise you will see a slow change start to take place!