1-From Day One, start them with eating fresh, organic veggies and fruits as soon as they begin solid foods. Aside from breast milk, my kids only ate REAL food. Nothing processed or in a package while they were still very young. They develop a taste for good, wholesome food easier. Once you introduce overly processed and packaged foods, the additives have addictive properties and it is hard to revert back to nature’s goodies. I know convenience plays a huge part in parenting these days and packaged food, even if it says “organic” doesn’t always mean healthy. It is just as easy to bring a banana or avocado in your diaper bag and just feed little soft bites for baby to eat. These days there’s so many gadgets to help give babies fresh food, like in a mesh bag for them to gnaw on. And drinking water instead of juices will help preserve their teeth, health, and future sugar addictions. Drinking water as their main beverage will help instill healthy habits they will use for life. It’s easier to create a habit from the beginning, than to break a bad habit. And NEVER ever give your children soda!
2-YOU have to eat YOUR veggies, IF you want your children to eat theirs. It sounds simple, but our ACTIONS are way more impressionable than our words. There are so many recipes and ways to make vegetables delicious. When you grab for a snack, some veggies dipped in hummus is a much better choice than downing a bag of chips or cookies. Getting into a habit of light snacking on nuts, fresh fruit, and veggies will help the entire family stay more healthy.
3-Make it FUN! Help them grow their own food, take them to Farmers’ Markets and each season go to U-PICK farms to pick locally, order veggie box deliveries and make that a special day when they help you cook dinner. Also having tasty dips for fruits and veggies can also add to the flavor and fun. There’s also so many ways to cut and prepare food to make it even more enticing.
4-If you are still having difficulty, it could be a power struggle. At different ages and stages, children need to exercise their own ‘wills’ and so you need to be more creative. Giving two options of vegetable choice at the table can help alleviate the power struggle and give them more room to make their own decisions. Also, have a delicious dessert for after dinner that may only be enjoyed by those who at their veggies. Again, a choice they get to make.
5-If all else fails, or you feel the need for more veggies than they are eating…disguising and sneaking in veggies has always been a wonderful way to get that extra bit of nutrition in. Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to hide into baking, marinara sauce, smoothies, and so much more because it doesn’t change flavors of the main ingredients. Using a food processor helps break it down inconspicuously and easier to add in to recipes.
These are the top 5 tips I have to offer that has helped our family grow with healthy eating habits. And always, bless your food before you eat to help with better digestion and teaching gratitude for the simple things in life!