I asked my Facebook mama friends how they keep their kids eating healthy foods. There were a few big themes that came up over and over again with these healthy moms encouraging their kids to eat healthy.
1. Make healthy eating the norm and lead by example.
This was definitely a biggie with my three year old too. He’s always eaten healthy foods and although he’s a toddler and has a lot of days when he likes and/or doesn’t like certain foods, he’s used to eating fruits, veggies, eggs and chicken on a daily basis.
A few examples of how moms teach (and show) their kids to eat well right from the start:
We just expose my toddler to healthy things and we all eat the same foods. We also have the rule one bite of everything on your plate. He’s never had soda, when he was sick & dehydrated it was hard to get him to even drink pedialyte because it was too sweet for him. We had to do one ounce of it mixed with 6 oz water.
Kelly McNally Bonatsakis, Toddler mom, Blogger at Cupcake Kelly’s
The thing that helps us the most is to make sure they aren’t snacking, and saying no to fast food. This way they are hungry when it’s time to eat, and I found them to try and eat more foods, and actually enjoy them because they aren’t comparing it to super sweet, salty and fatty foods.
Candice Clem, Mom of 2 and one more on the way!
I learned early on that my child does not respond to the preaching so I practice. I try to lead by example. Practice what I long to preach. When she’s with me she eats as I eat. For now that’s enough.
Carla Birnberg, Fitness Writer and Mom
2. Involve kids your kids in picking out and preparing healthy foods.
My little guy loves coming to the grocery store and picking out different fruits and veggies for the week. He helps me prepare real foods sometimes and other days he “cooks” in the living room with his play food while I am cooking in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to involving him more as he gets older. These suggestions below are great!
A few examples of how moms teach involve their kids in choosing and prepping foods at different ages:
My (toddler) son will try just about anything that he gets to help me mix up in the mixer or blend up in the blender. For example, making broccoli and cheese muffins, or a chocolate banana smoothie where we add in greens or avocado or other veggies.
Melissa Matheson, Runner and Working Mom
My oldest (ten years old) is responsible for planning and cooking one meal a week for the family. The requirements of the meal must include one vegetable and overall healthy choices. Her being part of the planning makes her more invested in the food choices and she tends to eat the veggie part of it when she’s planned it
Jody Pupecki, SOS Client and Marketing Manager at Coffee Rocket
I started my girls (middle school age) with a globe. They would spin the globe and where their finger landed is what culture we’d plan dinner around. They decorated the dining room and made a huge deal about it. We would do it every Thursday night. They would help plan the menu. They had ownership and loved trying the new things. It really expanded their palates. After that they have been willing to try just about anything.
Susan Moore, Personal Trainer and SFG II
3. Make veggies fun by using dips, shapes, etc.
My son loves helping me with the spiralizer (try these recipes!) or making some type of “healthified” muffins. He loves helping me make zucchini noodles for dinner eating spiralized apples with peanut butter on them for a snack. For something more simple, we’ll put peanut butter on banana slices and then he gets to decorate each one with a raisin.
I love these other suggestions suggestions from my fellow toddler moms!
Have them help pick out fruits and veggies from local farm stands and involve them in cooking. If they’ve helped get the ood to the table they will be more likely to try what’s in front of them. Oh, and dips… yogurt, dressing, hummus.
Jessie Vogel, Mom
My little girl who loved fruits and veggies was on a strike the past month but right now she’s obsessed with dips so I’m using that to my advantage. She’s eating all sorts of veggies as long as she can dip them in hummus.
Katie Ryan, Teacher, Soccer Coach, SOS Client & Toddler Mom
To make veggies more fun, I’d also point you towards Brittany’s site, A Healthy Slice of Life for some great #munchkinmeal ideas for toddlers. Try these fish shaped granola snacks!
Moms, any other suggestions for how you can get your kids in the habit of eating healthy foods?