I talk to a lot of parents, and being a parent myself I understand how challenging getting your kids to eat healthy can be.
Too often parents relinquish control because its just easier than fighting it, and then their kids become bossy, crap eating machines. Parents realize this is wrong and try to make a change, often times when its too late.
It is important to look at what the discussions revolving around food have looked like. Have there been any that have attempted to teach the kids about why eating this way isn’t the best for you? And how eating a different way can help make you stronger, smarter, have more energy, etc? As parents, if you are just harping on the kids, arguing with them and then ultimately giving in, then nothing is ever going to change.
Here are some suggestions on how to get your kids on board with eating healthier more often:
1) Talk to your kids. Sit them down and really have a conversation about the changes you want to make and the WHY behind them. Truly educate them about the importance of nutrition and food quality. Listen to their concerns without judging them or getting annoyed. Talk to them about ways to incorporate some of these foods sometimes, but also what the upcoming changes may look like.
2) Plan meals as a family. Sit down as a family and talk about meals they would like for the week. Take everyone’s opinion into consideration and create a weekly meal plan that everyone can agree on. Plan a day for a “less healthy” meal that the kids will really enjoy, or try to find recipes for some of their favorite junk food that would offer ways to make it healthier.
3) Be a role model. Kids often mimic their parents. Make good choices for yourself and keep good choices in the house and the kids will slowly start to realize that they should be doing this too.
4) Introduce changes slowly. Don’t completely flip these kids world’s and never let them have anything they are used to eating. They will absolutely rebel. Start with some bargaining. If you eat this chicken and broccoli today, we can have mac and cheese tomorrow for dinner. Slowly add healthier things to those meals too and serve less and less of the crap. Eventually maybe limit this to just one day a week or on special occasions.
5) Start off the day with a healthy breakfast. Don’t let your kids eat sugary cereal for breakfast. Take the time to make a healthy breakfast that will keep their energy up for school. Often times if you start your day off well, you want to keep eating healthy all day.
6) Get kids involved. Have the kids be a part of cooking the healthy things. This will help them understand not only how to cook, but will help them want to eat whatever you made because they had a part in it.
7) Allow for treats. Allow treats every once in a while, but do not keep them in your house as a snack staple. Ultimately remember you are the parent and are in charge of the grocery shopping.
Use these tips to start making healthier options a doable and consistent thing for you and your family!