Seven Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

woman with kids on a laptop

Encouraging healthy eating habits in children with these seven tips.

With busy schedules and the constant temptation of snack foods, it can be a challenge to make sure your children are eating healthy. Here are a few simple strategies that you can use to encourage healthy eating habits and make mealtime more fun. 

  1. Make it family affair: Eating together as a family can be a great way to encourage healthy eating habits. Children are more likely to try new foods and eat healthier when they see their parents and siblings doing the same.

    Healthy tip: Try a build-your-own dinner bar to inspire some creativity in the kitchen and let everyone choose and eat what they want. For example, a burrito bowl bar.

  2. Include kids in the planning and preparation of meals: Children are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to prepare. Encourage your kids to help plan menus, shop for groceries, and assist in the kitchen. 

    Healthy tip: While making a meal with your kids, talk with them about the different food groups and how to make meals that include multiple food groups. For younger kids, focus on colors and identifying the different foods. For older kids, have them sort the ingredients into the different food groups. If using a brown rice or whole grain, talk about what a whole grain is and identify other foods that are whole grains. 

  3. Provide a variety of healthy options: Children need a variety of nutrient-dense foods to support their growth and development. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients they need.

    Healthy tip: If you have picky eaters, use a food processor or blender to add nutritional veggies to meals via sauces, batters, or smoothies.

  4.  Avoid processed foods: Processed foods often contain added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Instead, opt for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    Healthy tip: Make your own no-bake snacks. They are much healthier and a great way to have kids participate in the kitchen. Older kids and teens can complete a recipe on their own. Energy bites are a great breakfast on-the-go, snack for school or home, and easily customizable.

  5. Lead by example: Children learn by example, so it's important to be a model of healthy eating habits yourself. Make sure you're eating a healthy diet and limiting your own intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and fast foods.
  6. Be patient: Kids are naturally curious and will often try new foods when they're ready. Be patient and don't force your child to eat something they don't want to.
  7. Make it fun: Eating should be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Use colorful plates, create fun food art, or have a picnic on a beautiful Vermont day to make mealtime fun and interactive.
    By following these tips, you can help your children develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Remember, good nutrition is essential for growth and development, and it's never too early to start teaching your kids about healthy eating.