Thanks to SUBWAY® restaurants for sponsoring my post about summer fun with my kids. Check out the Kids Eat Free program at any LA area location! Just purchase any two subs, two sides and two drinks, and you can get a kid’s meal FREE!
Getting kids to eat healthy is a primary goal for every parent. It doesn't help that most places offer “kids meals” that are more like carnival fare: hot dogs, fries, grilled cheese. It's hard enough to get children eating right at home when they're being derailed every time you leave the house. Here are some helpful ideas for getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables both at home and on the go.
Make it Fun
You know the tried and true “airplane” trick? There's a reason that parents always fall back on that one. Kids love being entertained! Make eating fun by cutting food into interesting shapes, creating unique bento boxes or
Cheese somehow makes everything better. Try melting some on top of broccoli or cauliflower to give your kids something a bit more interesting than a mound of vegetables. The same theory can be applied to sweetening the pot as well: try mini marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes or sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on cooked carrots. You don't want to go overboard with the added ingredients, but spicing things up a bit can sometimes make a tricky vegetable easier for kids to swallow.
Just a Little Bit
Institute a rule that your child has to try at least one bite of something before refusing to finish it. This way, he or she is exposed to different flavors and may decide that celery really isn't all that bad. It's a good compromise that can get kids going in the right direction when they're being stubborn or obstinate.
Include the kids in everything from shopping with you to washing and preparing fruits and vegetables. Ask them to help you pick out the foods that look good to them and then have them help do things like shucking corn and peeling bananas.
No fruits and vegetables, no dessert. I like to try more positive, affirming methods before resorting to bribery but this is a tactic that's worked for many, many parents.
Don't Give Alternatives
I find that eating healthy on the go is sometimes easier than at home because I have nothing other than what I've packed for myself. Prepare fruit and vegetable snacks for your kids and when they get hungry, don't cave in to their requests for cookies, chips or other unhealthy snack food.
Going out? Look up the restaurant menu ahead of time to make sure there are healthy options for children. If you must order off the adult menu, try to get kids excited about it by telling them they get something from the “big kid” section (although this one can backfire and get expensive if they start requesting adult menu items at every restaurant).
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.