5 Simple Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Without Losing Your Mind
I didn't realize how unhealthy my diet was until I had my first born.
I had severe postpartum depression after her birth and it wasn't until I found a highly trained naturopathic doctor that I realized how many of my symptoms were because of the food I was eating, and lack of trace minerals and nutrients.
I became very aware of what I was feeding myself, and thus what I was feeding my daughter.
As she entered her toddler years, it became a little more challenging to feed her healthy choices because she wanted to decide for herself.
Over the years, and now having a second child as well, I have learned some simple tips and tricks to keep your kids eating healthful options without losing your mind.
I hear moms say how helpless they feel to feed their children healthy food. They don't know where to start. Reading ingredients is overwhelming (at least at first). But then how do you get your kids to eat it?
First and foremost- I, as the mother, am the gatekeeper of what I allow in my home and in my children's bodies. If I don't want them eating food that won't benefit them in the long run, then I am a large part of making that happen.
You might be saying "But Andrea, you don't KNOW my kids... they will whine, they will kick and thrash about and eventually starve themselves if I don't let them eat x, y or z". It's true- I don't know you personally, and I probably don't know your kids. But I do know mine, and many of my friends and family.
We have been through this and still go through phases of this. But at the end of the day, I only have a short period of time where I get to influence their food choices and the earlier I start, the more likely they will be to continue those choices in my absence.
Alright, so how do we get there?
1. Get your mindset right. This is about long term health, not instant gratification. I hate tantrums and bad attitudes just as much as ANYONE, but you know what I hate more? The fact that our children are not expected to outlive us due to diet and environmental toxins.
We may not be able to do much about environmental toxins, but we CAN control what we put in their mouths!
2. Start swapping healthy alternatives to your kids favorite foods. For example, if your child cannot live without his chicken nuggets, then look for organic, free range chicken nuggets. Bonus points if they are gluten free! If it is chips, then look for chips cooked in olive, avocado or coconut oil and make sure they use spices NOT natural flavorings which is really just an umbrella term for chemicals.
3. Slip veggies into their favorite meals. For example: blend some cooked sweet potato and add it to pancakes, muffins, or other baked goods. I like to add this to orange juice and mango smoothies- they love the rich creamy texture and they get loads of vitamins that way. The real winner is that my girls "hate sweet potatoes" but don't even notice they have been added to the above foods.
4. Offer healthy options with every meal- even if they don't eat it. For us, this looks like grabbing a divided meal plate, and placing healthy options among their regular meals. At our house, we also don't do treats unless they have eaten their healthy options first.
5. Be consistent and set the example. I make sure that I am choosing healthful options and let my kids see that. I also talk regularly about the food they are eating in a positive way. For example: "Do you know what carrots do for your body? They help to keep your eyes healthy so you can see even when you're old!"
Are you ready to get moving in the right direction?
To your wellness,