We all want our children to grow up fit and healthy. Food is a vital part of that. Learn more about clean eating for kids with this handy guide.
Most American children don’t eat enough healthy food.
In fact, many children go for several days without eating any vegetables at all.
But what are you supposed to do if your kids don’t like healthy foods?
What happens if your kids still prefer sugary treats to fruits and vegetables?
There are a few simple tips that can help change your children’s eating habits (and help them enjoy healthy alternatives, too!).
We’ve put together this guide to show you how to encourage clean eating for kids in your household.
And it isn’t as hard as you might think.
So let’s get started below!
Fill Your Home With Healthy Foods
It’ll be hard to encourage your kids to eat healthy if your house is full of sugary, unhealthy treats.
Because of this, the first step of clean eating for kids is to fill your kitchen with healthy options.
Here are a few good choices:
Grains (like whole-wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
Dairy (like milk and cheese)
Other Protein (like beans, nuts, eggs, etc.)
You should also stop buying junk food, especially things with a lot of trans fats and refined sugar.
Otherwise, your kids will likely keep choosing unhealthy foods instead of healthy ones.
…But Ease into It
If your kids are used to eating sweet and unhealthy treats, you might not want to take them all away at the same time.
This can be frustrating for your children and turn them off to healthy foods even more.
So introduce new foods slowly.
Bring in a few new healthy options every week.
As your kids get more used to eating these foods, you can start cycling the unhealthy alternatives out of the house as well.
This will create a gentle transition that’ll also encourage your kids to try and enjoy healthy foods.
Start Them Young
The earlier you introduce healthy foods into your children’s diets, the more likely they’ll enjoy the food.
It’s a good idea to introduce healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, to your kids as soon as they are old enough to start eating.
Since they’ll develop a liking for these foods when they are young, they will keep eating them as they get older.
But this doesn’t mean it’s too late for your child to like healthy food just because they didn’t start young.
However, if you can, giving your kids these foods at a young age will set healthy eating habits early.
Lead By Example
Your kids probably won’t want to eat their vegetables if you refuse to eat them yourself.
You have a big influence in your children’s lives, so make sure you eat everything you’re serving them.
If your kids see you eating healthy foods, they will be more willing to give it a try themselves.
You should also do your best to keep your reactions to a minimum.
Don’t make a big deal about your kids eating a vegetable, and don’t make disgusted faces or sounds when you (or they) take a bite.
Your children will watch your reactions, and if you react negatively, they may decide they don’t like the food before they even try it.
Don’t Give up If They Don’t Like Something
Just because your kids don’t like a specific type of vegetable, fruit, meat, etc. doesn’t mean you should stop serving it to them. Instead, try preparing it in different ways.
For example, if your child doesn’t like raw broccoli, try steaming it.
Sometimes, the texture is what a child doesn’t like, not the taste.
It can also take several tries before your children develop a taste for certain foods.
So while your child might not like chicken the first three times they eat it, by the fourth or fifth time, they might start to enjoy it.
Keep introducing and reintroducing foods to your children several times.
If your child still doesn’t like a food after giving it a good chance, you can look for other healthy alternatives instead.
Let Them Choose What They Eat
Giving your children some control over what they eat will make them more excited about healthy foods and more willing to try them.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to present your children with a few different healthy options and let them choose what they want to eat.
You can have them do this before meals or let them pick healthy snacks for school.
If All Else Fails, Get Sneaky
Do you have some picky eaters in your family?
If your children are refusing to eat the healthy foods you provide, get creative with their meals.
Look up recipes that sneak vegetables into kid-favorite foods, such as macaroni and cheese.
Your kids won’t taste the difference and won’t have to know they’re eating vegetables.
This can ensure they get the nutrients they need, but you should still continue to encourage them to try new healthy foods.
Clean Eating for Kids Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Clean eating for kids is important for their overall nutrition.
Even if your kids don’t like fruits and vegetables, introducing healthy options doesn’t have to be a struggle.
If you follow the tips in this guide, you’ll have your kids eating healthy foods (and enjoying it!) in no time.
Do you want to learn some other helpful meal prep tips for healthy eaters?
We’ve got you covered.
Don’t hesitate to scroll through the rest of our blog today!