Having three children of my own I know how difficult it can be sometimes to get them to eat their greens. However, I am please to say that my kids eat a healthy and varied vegan/plant-based diet. Here are some strategies that I have used to promote healthy eating in my family.
1. Get Them To Grow Their Own Food
If you have a little space in your yard or on a windowsill, then a packet of organic vegetable seeds and little bit of soil can inspire children to have fun growing their own food. Peas, carrots, baby greens (mesclun), cress, cherry tomato, kale, and radishes are all easy for kids to grow.
It is wonderful for them to know where their food comes from, and after growing their own, they are usually happy eager to try some. My youngest son wouldn’t eat tomatoes when he was little, but when he was three we grew a large vegetable garden. That year I think he ate his weight in cherry tomatoes straight off the vine!
2. Make Food Fun!
Create a feast for their eyes. We are all more happy to eat food that looks pleasing to the eye. Be creative and take a little extra time to arrange their food in fun and interesting ways.
As a child my mom used to say, “Stop playing with your food!”, but when children are allowed to make their own fruit and veggie creations, they are more prone to eat them. They can make veggie boys and fruit girls, or a fruit and veggie picture. Make dipping sauces for them to use with their creations. Our recipe for classic hummus goes great with veggies and apple.
3. Get Them Involved In Food Prep And Cooking
Inspire budding chefs by allowing them to help at mealtimes. Older children can help with peeling and chopping and more advanced skills, while younger children can arrange salads, make salad dressings and shake them up in a jar, shape bliss balls, and other easier chores.
Be willing to try their creations, which will encourage them to make nutritious meals more often. You never know, you may just have the next top chef on your hands!
4. Lead By Example
Eat together. The family table is a great place to gather together and enjoy each others company over a good meal. Children enjoy playing games, like copycat, and are great at emulating behavior, especially that of their parents and siblings. By having family mealtimes they will see you eating healthy, which will entice them to try new foods, and to make better food choices.
5. Juice It!
Juiced fruits and veggies are packed with high nutrition (especially green juices), which is absorbed more readily by the body due to the removal of the plant fiber. To make them look more appealing, create juices and decorate them with cocktail umbrellas and fruits.
If you don’t have a juicer you can make delicious smoothies (more filling than juices due to the fiber). These are also a big hit in our house, and our kids readily make their own using the Nutribullet.
6. Teach Them The Benefits Of Healthy Eating
Children’s brains are like sponges; they absorb information readily. Thankfully, there are a ton of free resources out there that can help you in teaching your children about the benefits of eating more fruits and veggies.
Your local library probably have age appropriate books and DVDs on the subject. You can also do an app search for “kids nutrition” as there are many apps out there to help children make healthy lifestyle choices.
7. If All Else Fails, Just Add Chocolate
On the occasions when one of my children are going through a “picky eating” phase, I get sneaky and add chocolate to a healthy snack. Some great recipes include black bean brownies, chocolate avocado pudding, gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate orange frosting, chocolate green smoothies, and chocolate dipped fruit or frozen banana pops. Click here to check out all of the healthy recipes we have here on our website.
Try or Suggest a Strategy
Our kids health should be of top priority, so why not increase their nutritional intake by implementing some of these suggested strategies. If you have any ideas you would like to add to this list, then please comment below. We’d love your input.
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