Asking a child to eat a new food can trigger a dinnertime battle. Understandably, they want to stick with the foods they love, but you can get your kids to eat a more diverse diet with a few simple tricks. Try these tips to give your family a healthier diet without fighting them over each bite.
Kids get more engaged with their meals if they make them. Consider your children’s ages to give them appropriate responsibilities while you’re cooking. If they understand how the food gets on their plates, they won’t feel as nervous when trying something different.
Young kids, like toddlers, can mix batters or sauces while older kids chop veggies. Watching simmering pasta or setting the timer for your casserole could be enough to make young ones feel engaged. The new veggies and fruits will seem less scary because they prepped them.
Children eventually reach a phase where they learn to say no. If they feel forced to do something, they may double down on resisting just because they want to control their choices.
Flip the situation around by giving them a choice between two healthy foods. They could eat broccoli or peas in addition to their dinner. They might enjoy picking carrots or tomatoes for their salad instead of feeling forced to eat one.
Every extra bite of fruits or vegetables increases your child’s fiber intake, so see if this tip helps them eat healthier foods. Even if they only start with a spoonful, they’ll get more nutrients than in previous meals.
You’ll also give your kids more autonomy by letting them fill their plates at mealtimes. As long as they get a bit of everything you make, they’ll likely eat more vegetables because they chose their portion sizes. Eventually, they’ll work up to bigger servings and overcome their anxiety about eating veggies.
You can always hide healthy foods in whatever your kids already eat. Including half a banana in their favorite blended drinks would add extra potassium to their shakes and natural sweetness. Other blended veggies could easily mix into sauces and casserole dishes. Changing how the foods look doesn’t remove the nutrients your family will enjoy when it’s time to eat.
Smoothies are always good for getting your kids to eat a more diverse diet. They can easily drink more fruits and vegetables, especially if they’re already used to occasional smoothies or protein shakes. See how many organic foods you can hide in their snacks and desserts just by blending them with ingredients like milk, natural sweeteners and whatever flavors your kids prefer.
If you love to bake for your family, you can incorporate more vegetables into everyone’s desserts by making natural food dyes. They would work in traditional recipes like icing and cakes, but you can also dye things like homemade pasta recipes.
Consider transforming spinach into green dye by boiling and straining the leaves or blending them into a liquid. Beets, carrots and other vegetables can also dye foods. Research recipes that fit your family’s diet and use them as needed to make your meals and desserts more diverse.
There are numerous ways to eat a more diverse diet by reflecting on your daily snacks. Swapping traditional crackers with whole-wheat alternatives is a great place to start. Many brands produce both, so you might not have to buy a brand you don’t like to eat healthier foods.
Your family could dip carrots in hummus instead of ranch or eat fresh peanuts instead of chocolate-covered nuts. The simplest changes make significant differences. You’ll introduce more nutrients to your family’s diet without overhauling the snacks your kids love.
Don’t forget that hidden sugars are a commonplace ingredient you can do without. Sugar-free peanut butter and hazelnut spreads are healthier alternatives that might also fit into your budget. Look for labels advertising no added sugars to make subtle swaps your kids won’t notice.
Modeling better behaviors is the best way for kids to change their routines. They’ll feel safe if you’re doing the same things and even copy you because they look up to you. Show how excited you are to try new foods and how delicious each bite tastes during meals. You’ll make foods fun and engaging by getting into the experience with your kids.
There are many ways to get your kids to eat a more diverse diet. Start with some of these tips to see what works best for your family. Whether you hide healthy foods in your most frequent recipes or start with minor changes to your grocery list, your family will eat a wider variety of foods that are better for their well-being.
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