We are so excited to introduce our newest featured contributor Andrea from Earthyandy.com & @earthyandy. She will be sharing lot’s of how-to’s on healthy living + body & mind–along with lots of kid-friendly recipes. Today she is sharing how she gets her kids to eat salad and veggies + all her healthy food creations.
Andrea says, “The kitchen should be a happy inviting place where kids are excited to be together. Simple, real, satisfying (while simultaneously nourishing) are the type of meals I want to provide for my growing little coconuts.”
Below I will share 4 ways to encourage your kids to eat healthy…
Photos taken by Corinne Gold @corinnegold
1. Keep junk food out of the house-
I’m often asked, “so how do you get your kids to eat salad and veggies and all this ‘healthy food'”? Well, it definitely is an area I’m always working on, but I will tell you right now– if you’re competing with ice cream and cookies, you will most likely always lose. Solution? Keep it out of the house or hidden at best. After one or two days of junk food being out of the home, they are over it.
2. Take the emphasis off the veggie/food-
For introducing foods such as veggies, taking the emphasis off of the veggie and on to something else like, ‘how loud of a crunch can you make’ competitions turns not wanting to eat carrots or cucumbers into a crunching frenzy. Giving funny names works wonders as well. For example, spaghetti squash in our home is ‘monster hair’ and green smoothies are ‘ninja turtles secret ooze’. Have them involved in cutting, prepping, taste testing and if you can have a little garden and have them involved.
3. Keep it light-hearted and fun-
For my boys, I tell them fruits and veggies make them strong and for every veggie they eat a muscle will grow in their sleep. “Oh you want to do an air on your skateboard? Broccoli gives you the power to do that!” Keeping it light hearted and fun will get them excited.
There is a rule in our home, “you don’t have to like it but you have to try it”. Give at least 7 chances at introducing a new food like this and they will hopefully acquire the taste. A lot of the times it just takes getting use to something they have never had before. One of my kid’s favorite recipes, which I will share in detail below, is Sweet potato baked fries with leafy greens, a slice of sweet mango, green smoothie and a few homemade date balls.
4. Have patience-
Lastly, we practice patience. We lived a year in France where kids eat exceptionally well which really opened my eyes. Kids there do not snack and they eat as parents eat. It’s obvious these kids have been trained how to eat over a lifetime. It’s part of the lifestyle. Eliminating snacking to certain times of the day that you choose alone is a whole new topic that I could go on and on about the benefits, but in a nutshell, every time a child has to wait to be fed, they are learning patience. This is also a bit of a control area. By giving into a child’s every snack desire they are gaining control. This is an every day all day occurrence where if handled right can change the behavior of your child in the facets of life. Starting with the elimination of snacks and adding sit-down meals was huge for my little family and has had an incredibly positive influence on our family’s dynamics and state of health. My kids are not kids who eat everything naturally, so I understand it takes work, but when they start asking for healthy stuff, your heart will sing with success! Not only will you be happy but your kids will take pride in knowing how to eat too!
Now check out two of my favorite kid friendly recipes featured here on mom’s best….