5 tips to get your kids to eat healthy

5 tips to get your kids to eat healthy

It’s an often asked question: “How do you get London to eat so healthily?” To be honest, it takes me by surprise because I don’t think we did anything “special.” The question always causes me to think about to when we first introduced solids to her, what snacks she had as a toddler, removing gluten from her diet, to now, how London will eat {most} everything I put on her plate. You see, it truly has been a journey, just like my nutrition has been in my own life. Although I was very conscious of feeding her whole foods when we first introduced solids at 6 months it has been a gradual journey to where we are now.

If you are just starting with your 4 year old and are asking, “How in the world do I get them to eat broccoli?!” Let me give you some tips to hopefully ease the transition. But please don’t be fooled. London loves sweets and CARBS just as much as the next kid. But she also loves broccoli, asparagus, Kombucha, sauerkraut...the list of healthy foods goes on. But by filling up on lots of healthy foods I don’t have to worry when she does have the not-so-healthy-treats. Life is all about balance after all.

So how do I get London (and now Iylee as well) to eat healthy? The following tips are my answer. And if this works for London I know it can work for your kids as well. Here are 5 tips to get your kids to eat healthy:

1. Choose minimally processed foods.

Have you watched the commercials that come on during a children’s TV show? The food industry is very smart to focus on children and getting them to want the sugary cereal or granola bar or cool squeezy yogurts. There’s a reason the brightly colored food is paired with fun, engaging packaging. But be wary of this! Stay away from these types of foods. Read the labels. Most sugary cereals contain MORE sugar per serving than a soft drink!

2. Incorporate fruits and veggies.

Make them easily available to your kids. Cut, wash, and portion them out so they’re easy to grab. And don’t sweat it if your child doesn’t like a certain veggie -- it can take multiple times of introducing it before your child will like it. London used to gag when she had asparagus. I finally let it drop and then a month or so later when we were having it for dinner she asked if she could try it and now she likes it!

One of my all time favorite ways to sneak in spinach or kale is making 3 ingredients pancakes for the girls in the morning. Here is the recipe:
Blend a banana, 1-2 eggs, and a whole lotta spinach. Heat up a skillet and pour batter into skillet (the smaller the better). Cook a few minutes. Flip and repeat. Add a tiny bit of honey or pure maple syrup on top. My girls love these!

3. Help kids eat the right amount.

Children are actually very intuitive eaters given the right conditions. They tend to know their body cues and how much they need. Some days they will eat more and some days they won’t eat much at all. However, this amazing ability to regulate can be messed up by overly restricting foods, processed foods, inapropriate portion sizes or eating while rushed or on the go. Offer lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains first.

If London eats everything but her veggies I will usually make her eat them or save whatever she didn’t eat for a snack. Another tip: give them the veggies first and then add other things to their plate after they have finished their veggies.

4. Take the lead.

Chances are if you aren’t eating healthy, your kids aren’t going to either. You must be their role model and show them the way. Set a great example. Make yummy healthy foods or try different snack combinations to incorporate more healthy foods in their diet.

Our kids are watching us...are we setting them up for success now or a future filled with diets, distorted eating or health problems?

5. Realize it’s a process.

Just like any habit, healthy eating habits take time to develop. But the sooner the better. If you can begin introducing these habits when they are young it will stick with them as they get older. If you and your children don’t practice healthy eating habits currently, begin introducing veggies and whole foods in small ways. Drastically changing their eating overnight will cause them to dislike everything and will most likely do more harm than good.

As an added bonus, here are some of my go to snacks for London.

1. Carrots and almonds
2. Cashews and raisins
3. Larabar
4. Snap peas and clementine
5. Banana with peanut butter {peanuts only}
6. Apple slices with almond butter
7. Chocolate chips and mixed nuts
8. Celery with almond butter
9. Applesauce pouches {Great for on the go!}
10. Freeze dried fruit and cashews

So the next time you feel like there’s no possible way you can get your son or daughter to eat anything with nutritional value, consider these 5 tips to get your kids to eat healthy.

Let me ask you:

What tricks have you discovered to get your kids to eat healthy? Post your tricks, ideas, and whatever secrets you have up your sleeve in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!