Between both of my children, I’ve got a picky eater and one that will eat pretty much anything. Johannah is my picky eater. If it’s green, or even looks just a little like a vegetable, be prepared for the “No.” But Elijah, he’s more like his mama and he’s like “Gimme all the food“. Of course, since he doesn’t talk, it’s more like “MMMM.”, but you get it.
We all know that encouraging a child to make good choices now, will form the person they become. And don’t we all want healthy kids? So I racked my brain, and I did it. I conquered. I’ve come up with 5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Snack Healthy.
These tips are great no matter what ages your kids are because when you take to heart the best knowledge and advice, you definitely can feel better equipped to do the best job. Parenting is hard, we’re here with you! But you can be successful!
1. Let them see you choose healthy alternatives.
I know we’re all busy, and it’s just so easy to just grab that processed, pre-packaged, sugar-filled treat. But, don’t forget about all the little eyes watching you. Don’t kids learn by example? Be a good example, let them see you making better choices and they’ll become interested as well. Next time you go to the grocery store, don’t buy those funky treats. Stop giving opportunities for failure, do better be better.
2. Choose foods they identify with.
Johannah was never interested in trying fruits and vegetables and hasn’t gotten much better as she’s grown. But, one day when we were watching Daniel Tiger, they began talking about trying new foods and sharing about fruits and vegetables, and then the following show was about a Strawberry Fest. From that day on, Johannah was a sucker for strawberries.
Start with foods they already like and build upon that. You could also add foods that they already like with the fruits and veggies. My kids love yogurt covered raisins, fruit or ranch dips for veggies, and anything topped with cheese. Give options that work together.
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3. Make it easy and fun.
It’s time to play with your food, get hands on! There’s nothing better than getting your kids in the kitchen and making them a part of every stage of the “cooking” process. And if that doesn’t work, make it a game, eat outside, or be sure to have finger ready foods!
The world of Pinterest makes it so easy to make food fun. If you’re a Pinterest mom or the crafty type, then this should be easy! Make your foods fun!
4. Make it available.
Instead of waiting until the last minute and then reaching for the easiest items, that may not be the healthiest, set aside a day to prepare easy ready snacking. Always have items that are ready for emergencies (like crying babes), ready for to-go days, and prepared for little hands to grab anytime.
5. Start them young.
When Elijah was born, I did tons of research on making my own baby food. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to create yummy, healthy meals for my baby. I think this method helped to form my young boy’s palette since he loves to eat just as much as I do. Start with real, raw, fruits and veggies at a young age, and watch them learn about themselves as they grow healthier.
Healthy snacking isn’t only limited to fruits and veggies, but also include a great variety of pre-packed or pre-made foods that are nutritious. Things like nuts, or even low-fat snacks are a great choice before sugary treats.
Healthy snacking begins with you making better choices for yourself and for your children. Encouraging kids to snack healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle, but it does take the willingness to make lifestyle changes.