Kids + Healthy Food - Practical Tips for Parents

Kids + Healthy Food - Practical Tips for Parents

Kids + Healthy Food - Can They Even Go Together? 

If you're interested in setting your kids up to enjoy healthy food, and "normalizing" healthy eating, consider trying these things: 

Tip #1- Early exposure is good, when talkin’ food.  When my first kid was just shy of one, a friend came to visit me. She would not stop taking photos of him eating “unlikely foods” and doing “unlikely things” in the kitchen– like eating capers straight from the jar, drinking green juice, tasting fresh rosemary on a walk, testing spices–ginger, garlic, chili pepper, you name it! I've learned that exposing kids to various flavors from an early age helps expand their palette and prepares them for variety later on. One fun way you could do this is to do a Spice Tasting activity (toddlers love this!) where you place 1/4 tsp of various spices in piles on a plate.  Have your child dip a moist finger into each spice and describe what it tastes like. If your child is older, they can guess the name of the spice.  Another fun way to expand your child's palette is to have an "Around the World in Food" week of meals, where you cook a couple different cuisine types: Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian... You can share a fun fact about the culture you are "visiting through food" each night. 

Tip #2- Dip it, cover it, mix it up! These are some “tricks” I consider when I look at a veggie that I’m pretty sure my kids will be scared of, or will act like they are choking on. Enter the conversation in my head…“What fun sauce could they dip this in? Ranch, ketchup, honey mustard, salsa? Should I cover this broccoli with cheese or soy sauce/coconut aminos? This is a great way to introduce all of your family members to a new (scary) veggie, and it's something you can ease off of as they get used to it. 

Tip #3- Want another idea that works almost every time? Try giving your kids lunch plates with a bunch of grazing foods (including raw veggies: cauliflower, carrots, grape tomatoes, etc) shaped into a funny face.. Then, encourage your kid to eat by jokingly saying things like, “The eyeballs tasty?” I have all boys, so of course we always look to see if the olive “nose” has any boogers in it, but you get the idea…

What do you think? Does one of these stick out to you as something you'd like to try? Which one?  Comment below...


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