Make Healthy Eating Fun
After talking about healthy eating with your kids, get them to put that into action with some fun eating games. Here are a few that have worked for my family:
- Crunching Contest: A couple nights each week, friends and I get our kids together for a group meal and we encourage the kids to have “crunching” contests with raw veggies. The kids really get into it as they chomp down on their carrot sticks and compete for the loudest crunch.
- Germ Party: We have explained germs to the kids in the simplest terms – if they eat healthy, the germs go away. If they refuse to eat their veggies, we say, “Germ party at [insert child’s name here]’s house!” It motivates the kids in a fun way to eat well. This is also a very helpful tactic when talking about hand washing and other healthy habits. Now at mealtime, the kids love to ask, “What do the germs say to spinach?” as they eat their spinach. Parent participation is required here: We take on the role of the germs and scream and run away, which helps the kids understand that the germs REALLY hate spinach and want nothing to do with the kids who eat it.
- Dipping: Many kids love to dip their foods, so experiment with different healthy but tasty dressings and dipping sauces for their vegetables.
- Be creative: Make a fun vegetable display, - like a smiley face - on their plate.
Even if kids pretend not to like eating healthy, all veggies are not created equal. Some recipes use vegetables in ways almost guaranteed to please even the fussiest eaters.
A recent discovery of mine is fried kale chips: Cut up some kale, drizzle it with Canola oil and a little salt and bake at 350 degrees until crispy. You can also do this with parsnips and sweet potatoes.
Experiment with making your own dips by combining yogurt, hummus or light sour cream with spinach, cucumbers, carrots and artichokes with some spices for a yummy, healthy dip.