Let’s face it, many kids are picky eaters, and sometimes we as parents have to bend over backward to get them to eat anything healthy. Today, we are sharing parenting hacks to help kids eat healthier and make healthier food choices.
Parenting Hacks to Raise Health-Conscious Kids
If given a choice, kids will inevitably choose junk food instead of leafy green vegetables or other healthy foods, but with a few parenting hacks up your sleeve, you can begin raising healthy conscious kiddos who make good food choices.
1. Talk to Your Kids
First and foremost, it’s essential to talk to your kids about healthy foods. No matter what age they are, you can use age-appropriate phrases to teach them that some foods are healthy and some foods aren’t. Let them know that fruits and vegetables make them strong but that eating too much sugar and junk can make them sick. Keep in mind that you want to focus on the healthy aspect, not on weight gain.
In addition to talking about healthy foods, get the kids involved in their healthy eating habits by putting them in charge of picking foods to eat for the week. Ask them to come up with some healthy ideas to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
2. Model Healthy Eating Habits
Unhealthy relationships with food are easy to pass down to your kids. So, one of the best parenting tips you can follow is to model what you want your kids to do; this includes modeling healthy eating habits. If you want your child to eat an apple as a snack, you should eat an apple. When kids are younger, they like to be like mom and dad, so if they see you doing it, they will do it as well.
3. Eat Junk Food in Moderation
Balance is key. It’s ok to snack on some chips or enjoy a piece of candy, but it’s essential to do it in moderation. Eliminating “unhealthy foods” can easily backfire and create other unhealthy habits, like sneaking food. Encourage your kids to enjoy a balance of both healthy and less healthy foods.
4. Leave the Junk Food at the Store
Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy alternatives for snack time. This helps eliminate the temptation to eat junk food for everyone in the house. If the foods you’re trying to avoid aren’t available at home, there will be less temptation to eat them.
photo: K15 via Unsplash
5. Sneak In the Veggies
You may not have such a hard time getting your kiddos to eat healthy fruits like apples, strawberries, and grapes because they still taste sweet! But, getting them to eat those veggies can be a whole different story. However, repeated exposure to a food usually helps people accept the flavors. To get your kiddos to start eating more veggies, you may have to start sneaking them in. Here are some parenting hacks to sneaking in veggies:
- Veggie chips: You can bake kale, making it nice and crispy to the point where it almost tastes like potato chips. There are many store-bought solutions, such as cauliflower crackers or kale chips.
- Veggie version meals: Many of your child’s favorite foods are sneaking in veggies. For example, Kraft is now making a veggie-infused version of mac & cheese with pasta is made from cauliflower.
- Bake sweet potato fries: Another way to get your kiddos to eat veggies is to make them look like junk food. Sweet potato fries are healthy, and in the shape of McDonald’s french fries, kids will gobble them down.
- Throw veggies into pasta dishes: Another way to sneak them in is to toss them into pasta dishes. Toss steamed broccoli or peas into their mac & cheese, ramen, or chicken and noodles.
6. Use Healthy Carbs
Of course, fruits and veggies are super important, but kids still need some carbs in their diet. You can use healthier options, like whole-wheat bread. Here are some healthy carb ideas:
- Whole wheat pancakes: Kids love french toast and pancakes, but you can make them healthier by using whole grain or whole wheat flour.
- Whole wheat bread and tortillas: You can also use whole wheat bread and tortillas for sandwiches.
- Use creative crusts: Instead of ordering pizza, make your own with healthy dough alternatives like whole wheat dough, cauliflower, or rice flour dough. Additionally, English muffins make great healthy individual pizzas.
7. Puree Fruits and Veggies
If the mere sight of fruits and veggies has your kiddos up in arms, you can puree them so they can’t see them. For example, you can puree zucchini, red and green peppers, onions, and mushrooms to throw into your spaghetti sauce. Or, you can do a smoothie with fresh fruits and veggies, top it with some whipped cream to hide the healthy stuff.
8. Make a Healthy New Year’s Resolution
As adults, we set goals and resolutions to motivate ourselves; this is true with kids too! Setting new year goals as a family is a great way to get everyone to eat better and become more health-conscious.
We hope this list of parenting tips will help get you started raising health-conscious kiddos. If you have other parenting hacks that have helped you along the way, please share your ideas in our Local Anchor Facebook Group!