Why in the world is it so difficult getting our kids to eat healthy foods without a meltdown? I am a mom to 3 children ages 12, 11, and 5 so I. Have. Been. There. Y’all! We started with the same battles ALL parents face of those toddlers fighting you at every turn about every issue. And food tends to be the biggest next to potty training because that’s where littles know they have some control. I can joyfully tell you all of our children now eat a wide variety of healthy foods including vegetables and I’m happy to share my tips with you! **(free printable at the end of post)**
- Take a deep breath. Just calm down. It’s not quite the crisis we make it out to be. If they enter their adult years only eating 5 foods, well…there are worse things. I know it’s not healthy for them but it’s not horrid. Just relax. Kids pick up on our tension. They are quite perceptive.
- Don’t give up. Just because their diet consists of only french fries and hot dogs now doesn’t mean that’ll last forever.
- Remember you are the parent. Kids will not starve themselves. If they are hungry enough, they WILL eat. Don’t let that screaming 2 year old scare you. You got this!
- Try all different colors. Would you want to eat a boring plate of all tan foods? No way! Try putting foods on their plate that are different colors.
- Hear me out on this one! This tip got ALL 5 of us gobbling down brussel sprouts…a food 4 of us just absolutely hated. Now we eat them 3 times a week. I began by cutting up tiny pieces of bacon (bacon makes ANYTHING better) and onion and mixing those items with the brussel sprouts. Then, I baked them all together and MAN! The taste was sensational. Slowly, I backed off the bacon completely. Now we roast b. s.’s plain and eat them straight up! WIN for this Momma!
- This leads to my next tip. Mix it up. Have you ever seen a child eat a fruit salad but won’t touch an apple alone? I was that child. I then used this tip on my kids and it worked! There’s something about putting different items in their mouth together that helps them try new foods.
- Ok this is a tip my Momma gave me when Erick (our first) was born. You don’t introduce a new food to kids 5 times. Not even 10. You keep introducing that food over and over and over until they finally take a couple bites. Keep trying!
- Have a rule like “3 no thank you bites.” They try 3 small bites of the food and then they don’t have to finish the rest. This tip has REALLY worked for our children.
- Try putting things like a little cheese over the veggies they don’t like, or season it differently to alter the taste. Even grown ups like this idea.
- Have them pick the healthy foods out at the grocery store. That’ll help give them some control and they may be more willing to try that food.
- Try growing your own. I’ve seen it over and over where children who help grow their own food will more often eat it happily.
- Explain to them that sometimes you eat things you don’t like because you know it keeps your heart and lungs healthy. This has worked with our boys a number of times. Tell them you’ll eat the foods you don’t like together and then give each other a high-five!
- Make a sticker chart and let them have a sticker every time they eat a new food with no arguing or pouting. Then reward them at the end of each week or every 5 stickers. Remember, it’s hard for littles to remember much so keep the timing short.
- Let them help you cook it. This is the same concept as them helping to grow the food.
- Only introduce a new food one at a time. Put 2 things on their plate they love, 1 they like, and 1 new one. We did this very early on and it worked.
- Read some books about what these healthy foods do for our bodies. Our children watch documentaries on Amazon Prime and let me tell you: now they beg for healthy foods.
- If they’ll only eat apples or oranges, count that a win – for now. At least they are getting some good nutrition in there.
- Make smoothies. Pinterest and Google have millions of great kid-friendly recipes that you can cater to their needs like allergies.
- Make it into a game like this: You can eat 1 chicken nugget after you eat one bite of green beans. Then keep that going.
- To start, pick veggies that taste a little sweet like peas, corn, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Then branch out from there.
There you have it. Twenty tips for getting your child to eat more healthy foods! I hope this list helped in some way!
Here is a FREE Printable you can have to help get things started! Click on the pink link to download and print it off.
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