Healthy eating with kids…Isn’t that a contradiction?
Is it even possible to get my kids to eat HEALTHY without losing my sanity?
Getting a strong willed 3 year old to do something they don’t wanna do without fighting, bribing, and major drama… I hear ya, there are few harder things in life.
I have heard from many moms who have only bad memories of trying to push healthy foods into the bellies of their little people. So tiring it can be that they often give in or give up and bust out something, ANYTHING, their kid will eat without complaining and tantruming over!
While there are SOOO many areas that are constant struggles for our family, this is not one of ‘em. Not because I’m amazing or my kids are angels, rather I think it’s a mindset thing. When I was a kid, my mom did some simple things that helped create in me a certain mindset about food, healthy food in particular. I actually liked all sorts of veggies and “abnormal kid foods” and I didn’t know anything different until I went to a friend’s house, which is where I tasted crack, a.k.a Velveeta, for the first time.
Parents, I salute you, this is a hard, HARD job! In our families, we all have areas that we struggle in, and then some areas that come semi-easily. In the spirit of learning from one another, please excuse me while I google “how to wean my way-too-old boy#3 off the pacifier,” and I’ll leave ya here with this…
Healthy Kids How-To:
Tip #1- One meal for everyone. Always. Yep, this kitchen ain’t no restaurant, so it doesn’t come with a menu. You get what you get and you be (or at least act) grateful for it. There’s no second meal that will be made if you don’t like the first one. It may sound mean at first, but I believe it’s a big help–in the area of fighting the entitlement monster and supporting your kid’s health. If a kid knows that dinner #2 (PBJ) is an option if they don’t like dinner #1, then they are highly unlikely to give dinner #1 any time of day…they have probably already decided they HATE dinner #1 before they even take a bite. Not to mention, instead of enjoying a meal yourself, you will be up gathering foods for dinner #2… Do yourself a favor and practice monogamy with your dinner meals.
Worried your kid will resist eating dinner #1 so much that they will be malnourished? I recommend always having a variety of foods on a plate, so that if one food triggers (fake) choking or causes them to fall on the floor in uncontrollable tears, there’s a few others on there that likely won’t.
Tip #2- Make dessert a non-norm! I honestly only remember having desserts at birthday parties. Now, I’m suuurrre my memory fails me (at my ripe age of 32) BUT point being, dessert wasn’t expected… Here’s what having an “only dinner policy” does… First, it helps me/my kids eat more dinner if we’re still hungry, instead of “saving room for dessert.” Second, it helps us not crave and then overdose on sugar. Now, parents, we all know there is a HUGE difference between our kids ON SUGAR and off sugar. In fact, I’ve asked my kid’s preschool teacher to let me know when a birthday has been celebrated in class, as those days I won’t bother trying to nap him after school…waste.of.time. There is so much research on how eating a lot of candy/sweets and all the crap that comes with them (food dyes, preservatives, artificial flavors) has harmful effects on these here bodies of ours, especially when eaten regularly.
Now, don’t think we never have a sweet treat around here…just know that it’s a personal choice we have made as a fam to make this a rare occasion, not an expectation or a norm… By the way, I highly recommend NOT coming home after the doughnut shop–do yourself a favor and either drop the kids off at grandma’s or in an open field somewhere.
Already down the dessert road? No fear, there’s still time! Here’s something to try… swap some fresh fruit in dessert’s place – It’s still sweet, just in it’s natural, healthy form!
If you want to change your family’s dinner habits, pick one tip you want to try and work at it for a week or 2 or 3…as these are not quick changes!
Stay tuned for Part 2 on this topic, I have some tricks to share on how to make healthy foods more exciting for your kids!