It's one thing to understand all the rich health benefits of plants in our diets, but it's another thing to translate that into reality on our kids’ plates! Knowing our kids should be eating well is easy compared to convincing them to do it. As a mom, I’ve certainly struggled with feeling like I could foster better eating habits for my kids. Here are my top 6 tips for helping your kids love the foods that their bodies will love:
1. Put one new food on their plate: making a habit of exposing your kids to new foods has a big payoff. It’s sometimes a mystery what kids turn their nose up at and what they gravitate towards. But over time, kids become more friendly towards foods they’ve seen before. Putting one new food on a plate next to foods they’re already familiar with is a way to make it ‘no big deal’ that they’re trying a new food.
2. Hide new foods: This may sound like the opposite advice of tip#1, but different strokes work for different folks! You can bake carrots and zucchini into chocolate muffins, mix cauliflower rice into regular rice, or add hidden veggies into pasta sauce (check out my amazing broccoli pesto recipe from last week!)
3. Model eating right: Our kids are always watching us, and whether we like it or not they pattern their behaviors after what they see us do. If you regularly snack on fruits and vegetables in front of them, or have a colorful plate at meal time, their interest in these types of food will grow!
4. Play with your food: My five year old couldn’t stand the thought of broccoli, until my brilliant husband told him he was a giant and the broccoli was a small tree. Making monkey sounds gets my toddler in the mood for a banana. Or turning meal-time into a contest or a race are all great motivators to eat that food!
5. Cook with your kids: Kids love the ‘fruits of their labor’ (pun intended). If they helped you cook it, or pick it, or even purchase it at the grocery store, they’re more likely to show an interest in it at mealtime. Collect recipes they can help with that don’t all happen over an open flame!
6. Supplement to fill in the gaps: Despite our best efforts, I’m convinced no parent has completely mastered getting their kids to eat everything we’d like them to. And as many great parenting techniques as I’ve used, there are days when convenience wins, and I don’t feed my kids an ideal menu. I’ve found using whole-food based, quality supplements gives me peace of mind knowing the nutritional gaps are getting filled and my kiddos immune system is getting a boost. My personal recommendation is the new Nutrilite Kids line- well sourced ingredients put into fun formats, like gummies, jelly splats, fast melt powder, and smoothies!