Encouraging your kids to make healthy food choices is an uphill struggle, especially when you are competing with adverts for fast food chains and peer pressure. Help your children to develop a refined palate and a taste for healthy food with these great tips.
Practice What You Preach
If you nag at your kids to choose an apple over biscuits and then they come across you sacrificing one of your five a day for a sugary snack, then you are making your job even harder.
When you stop for a fruit or vegetable snack, encourage your kids to join you.
Grow Your Own
It can be as simple as growing a few veggies in a window box to the convenience of a fruit cage but growing your own introduces so many new skills to your children.
Not only that, homegrown fruit and vegetables taste so much better too, more so if you steer clear of pesticides and insecticides, relying on natural pest remedies instead.
As well as cooking stuff they grow, teaching them to cook and bake are two valuable life skills. But it also helps children to try new foods and tastes.
Involve them in the whole process of cooking from choosing which dishes to try, to shopping for ingredients, to chopping, cooking and boiling.
Try Something New Together
We all have our likes and dislikes, but don’t forget that a child’s palette is more sensitive to tastes than ours.
Spicy foods or salty dishes may taste just fine to us, but to them the flavour can be overpowering. This is why as children grow, they can start to like food that they once hated!
Take care when introducing new foods, but don’t be put off trying it again. And better still, try something new together.
Make It Into A Smoothie
If you are concerned that your children aren’t getting enough fruit in their diet, why not combine fruits with the smooth, creaminess of yogurt to make fruit smoothies?
Use fruits that are in season. Smoothies are a great way to use homegrown fruits too.
Smoothies To Frozen Treats
There is nothing better than a lolly or ice cream on a hot summer day. Appeal to your children with frozen fruit smoothie lollies, as well as having a go at making your own ice cream.
You could invest in an ice cream maker or do it the old-fashioned way by stirring the smoothie every few hours once in the freezer to stop it developing big crystalline lumps.
Serve a few scoops alongside a wafer or as a dessert after a meal.
Have A Soup Starter
Many children go through a stage that lasts several years of hating every vegetable that is put on their plate.
Introducing a vegetable soup as a starter to some meals and serving a small portion is a great way of mixing up flavours, as well as using a glut of homegrown veggies to stop them going to waste.
Stop Negative Messages
It is common for parents to not only worry about what their children are eating but also how much or how little they are too.
The problem is, some of the messages we give our children, implied or otherwise, can have a long-lasting effect.
As hard as it is, try not to overplay the ‘eat healthy’ message or making negative comments about the choices they make.
Cut Back On Junk In Your Weekly Shop
What you bring into the house will send signals to kids about what they can eat. Minimise the processed foods that you buy making these kinds of choices the exception rather than the norm.
Variety, Variety, Variety
It is easy to become stuck in our ways and routines, and this means that meal time choices can become the same.
However, a routine or even a weekly menu is no bad thing, especially when everyone is busy with work, school and after-school activities.
Just make sure you are not falling back on ‘favourites’ so much that they become boring.
Treats Are OK, But In Balance
Healthy eating is about making good food choices but also keeping a balance.
For example, fruit juice is acidic and too much can have an effect on teeth. And yet we assume that because it is fruit based, it is really good for us.
Teach your children about moderation and that the occasional treat is OK!
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