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15 Tips for Getting Kids (and Husbands) to eat Healthy

15 Tips for Getting Kids (and Husbands) to eat Healthy

Nutrition in Elmhurst IL

Sometimes it seems like kids are hardwired to hate vegetables!  And after a long day, the last thing you want to do is fight with your kids about healthy eating.  Have heart, there is hope, following is a list of 15 ways to get children to start eating healthier.

Did you know that it takes 28-30 exposures to a disliked food to turn it into a like, be patient and don’t give up!

  1. Model healthy eating

    • According to a study published in 2010 the most important predictor of a child’s fruit and vegetable consumption is the parents fruit and vegetable consumption – parents must model healthy eating habits for their children.

  2. Make food fun

    • When kids were given the choice between broccoli and a chocolate bar 22% chose the broccoli.  However, when an Elmo sticker was placed on the broccoli and kids were given the same choice, 50% chose the broccoli.

    • A study showed kids age 9-12 are more likely to eat vegetables if they are cut into shapes, sticks or slices (with shapes being most popular).

  3. Incorporate healthy fats

    • Wrap veggies in bacon and bake or dip in avocado/guacamole, nut butters or hummus/babaganoush.

  4. Be tricky

    • Puree vegetables and mix them into sauces, soup broths, ground meats, etc – look online for ideas.

    • Don’t make this the only way your kids get vegetables, as they will not learn to choose them for themselves as adults with this method.

  5. Make it an adventure

    • Have a sample night – put out sample size dishes of different healthy foods for your kids to try. You’ll get ideas of what they like, and they will enjoy the novelty. Be sure to use a variety of serving styles - brightly colored toothpicks, sample cups, napkins, etc. Have fun with it!

    • Let kids help you cook – see below for a list of age appropriate ideas.

    • Grow your own foods

  6. Let kids choose

    • Take them to the produce section and let them decide what veggies they want that week.

    • Buy healthy cookbooks with pictures and let kids pick out the menu.

  7. Get educated

    • Help kids understand how the foods benefit their body – kids respond best to things that important to them – energy to run faster, strength to do more pushups, clearer skin.

  8. Kids love appetizers!

    • Serve healthy foods as an appetizer for kids to munch on while you cook meals.

  9. Never force kids to clean their plate.

    • However, requiring them to try a bite of something new is fine. Put a spoonful of any new foods on their plate for them to try to avoid overwhelming them.  If they like it, offer more, but don’t require them to take more.  The object is to open kids minds about healthy foods- if they feel like any positive feedback results in forced large portions they will be more likely to hate everything!

  10.  Kids love dessert!

    • Incorporate healthy foods into dessert.

  11.  Limit options

    • If you are trying a new meal and your child doesn’t like it, allow them something else healthy they do like – apples and almond butter or hard-boiled eggs is fine for meal.  Don’t offer mac n’ cheese or chicken nuggets instead!

    • Don’t keep junk food in the house; instead make it a treat.  Go out for ice cream every once and awhile, don’t keep it in the freezer.  French fries or chips are fine if you eat out once a month, but don’t keep them in the house!

    • Offer water, tea or a fruit infused water at meals only.

  12.  Teach mindfulness

    • Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel about 75% full.  The stomach needs time to send signals to the brain, stop eating before you think you are full to avoid over eating.

  13.  Have patience

    • Don’t give into temper tantrums or stonewalling.  Skipping a meal will not harm your child, should they refuse to eat.  However, it is best to co-opt them and get them excited about eating better than to force it on them.

    • Don’t give up – it can take up to 30 introductions to turn a food from a yuck to a yum!  And there are some foods you child just will not like.

  14.  Co-opt your kids

    • Get kids excited about healthy eating by making a family goal, a sticker chart, an incentive program, a contest, etc.

  15.  Don’t eat distracted

    • Sit at a table, put away books and games, turn off the TV and focus on enjoying your meal.

Kids in the Kitchen:

  • Younger kids can – add toppings, tear salad greens, measure and pour ingredients, stir things.

  • Older kids can – learn to peel, chop, and shred ingredients, boil water, create simple recipes.

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Elm Chiropractic
475 South Spring Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 530-4744