A couple of weeks ago I did something drastic. I cleaned out our fridge and pantry and threw out every single processed find. I’m talking about the goldfish and the sugary cereals. Granted, we didn’t have too much of it in our pantry so it wasn’t being super wasteful. But still! As a mother of three small children, this was a pretty drastic move!
At the risk of being quite possibly the most annoying person you encounter today, let me preface this by saying this is something I am *not* perfect at. I’m trying to promote healthier eating habits, but am far from perfect. We are still going to splurge on occasion, and that’s okay.
Here are 7 healthy eating tips I’ve found useful, and I hope you do as well.
- Don’t Cater to Them: I don’t make them a separate dinners. No, the children don’t always love what’s on their plate. Sure, they throw a fit sometimes… but that’s what I made for dinner. By doing this, I’m hoping to teach them they can’t always get chicken nuggets and mac and cheese when we are trying to eat a balanced meal. That being said…
- Always Make One Item They Will Eat: I’m not a terribly mean mom, so I always do make sure to add at least one thing to their plate that I know they all 3 will eat. Whether it is homemade, baked french fries, grapes, or just a few pieces of cheese…I still make sure there is one item they will eat.
- No Baby Food: I really am not really sure if this has made any difference in my children’s eating habits, but it was something that was important to me when my first child was born. When Luke started eating solid foods, I opted to purchase a BEABA Babycook and started making his food straight from the table. I did this partially because I wanted to start developing his taste buds, and partially because organic baby food is expensive!
- Involve The Children in the Process: All three of my children, even my 1-year-old, are like little vultures in the kitchen when I’m cooking. So, I put them to work! I’ve found a great way to have them help is by handing the older two pizza slicers and letting them cut up soft veggies or tortilla shells. I let them crack eggs and even allow my 1 year old to stir mixtures. By letting the children help with the process of cooking, they are guaranteed to enjoy the meal. There is less complaining. I also make sure to praise them on the delicious meals they cook.
- Don’t give up! Some children need to be exposed to a food 10 – 20 times before they’ll even decide if they want to eat it and another 20 – 40 times before they decide if they like to or not. So keep trying and keep leading by example!
- Don’t forbid indulgences: I think it’s perfectly fine to offer your child a treats. One of our favorite deserts is this amazing 5 ingredient Protein Bite recipe. We also have a lot of angel food cake with strawberries on top during the spring and summer.
- Lead by example: This is an important one. If you’re committed to leading a healthier lifestyle, remember it starts with you and your partner! I know it’s hard. Especially at the end of the day, it can be so challenging for us to put the effort in for ourselves let alone creating healthy eating habits for kids. Meal planning has helped tremendously at our house.
I know it’s challenging, but you got this!
I’d love to hear how you promote healthy eating habits for your children. Comment below!