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5 Creative Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating At Home

If you have kids, you likely know the struggles of trying to get them to eat healthy foods.

Between picky eaters and the constant junk food advertisements on television, it can feel impossible to fill your kids with the nutrients they need without incorporating a lot of sugar or preservatives.

Veganism has been experiencing a surge in popularity and practice over the recent years, with more and more people adopting a vegan lifestyle every day.

Thankfully, there are ways to help your child get their fruits and vegetables.

Here are five creative ways to encourage healthy eating at home.

5 Creative Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating At Home

1. Make Fun Shapes

If you’re on social media, you may have seen videos of parents packing their kids’ school lunches with butterfly sandwiches and crinkle-cut carrots.

While a full lunch can be time-consuming, using things to shape healthy foods can make them more attractive to your skeptical children.

Whether you use a cookie cutter, special slicers, or just cut them with a knife, food that looks like the things your kids love makes them fun to eat.

It’s frowned upon to play with your food, but for young children, letting them explore their food can make them more likely to eat it. When you make the food in fun shapes, it encourages that exploration.

2. Serve Healthy Appetizers

Kids can become impatient while dinner is prepared and ask for sugary snacks that fill them up and prevent them from trying the healthy food on their plates.

One way you can get your kids to eat healthy food is by offering it as a pre-dinner snack.

Lay out cheese and whole-grain crackers, slice up some fruits and vegetables, and make a platter.

Snack on some of them yourself while getting ready for dinner – your kids will likely do the same. They might think they’re getting away with snacking before dinner, but they’re getting a nutrient boost.

Getting healthy food this way can also help your kids develop healthy snacking habits as they grow, setting them up for good nutrition.

3. Educate Them

Kids might sometimes know what’s healthy and what’s not, but by teaching them about the food and incorporating them into fun activities beyond eating, you can engage kids more in nutritious eating and thinking.

Reading books about healthy eating, coloring pictures, and playing with toy food incorporates education and entertainment into healthy foods.

You can take one food at a time and plan a few activities with your child. Teach them about where the food comes from, what it does for the body, and how to prepare it.

Then, let your child help prepare the food and enjoy it together.

Knowledge is a powerful tool for kids. By making learning fun, healthy food becomes much less boring.

4.   Make Sneaky Foods

Some kids refuse to eat food before they even try it. That’s because they associate the food’s texture or appearance with it being unappealing.

Using the ingredients in new ways allows your child to get in nutrients without even realizing it's the same food they were previously disgusted with.

You can incorporate fruits and vegetables into beloved foods like pancakes, mac ‘n’ cheese, and cookies.

Some adults dislike this approach because it can come off as lying to your child. Nutrition isn’t anything to mess with – you can give them a cookie without explaining what’s in it.

If you are uncomfortable with the approach, you could try letting your kids help with the recipe. They can add healthy foods while still focusing on the delicious result.

As a parent, you know your child best, so choosing strategies that work well for your family is crucial.

5 Creative Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating At Home

5.   Get Them Involved

We mentioned parts of this tip in the others because getting your child involved with food is an integral part of expanding their diet.

Let them help plan meals, take them grocery shopping, and let them do age-appropriate cooking tasks, like rinsing produce, measuring ingredients, or cutting bread.

There are many creative ways to get your kids involved at meal time.

Set the table with “special broccoli-eating forks,” let them add “foods that a bunny eats” to the grocery list, or help them decide which healthy foods to eat throughout the week.

Getting them involved in meal preparation also helps them learn valuable skills. Kids who don’t spend time in the kitchen have a more challenging experience preparing food than adults, leading to a lifetime of unhealthy habits.

Teach them about food safety and avoiding cross-contamination, along with age-appropriate knife skills.

Let them see how different heat settings affect food and what flavors combine to create a delicious meal. It’s a great way to bond while teaching them the necessary skills.

When your child becomes part of a meal’s reaction, they’ll likely take pride in their creation and enjoy it much more than if it was just put in front of them.

Encouraging Healthy Eating at Home

You won’t always be able to control what your kid eats outside of the home, nor should you.

As kids grow, they’ll need to practice making their own food choices.

By encouraging healthy eating at home, you set a firm foundation for your child to make healthy decisions moving forward, keeping them ready to face the world.

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