As a dad to four growing kids, I know just how difficult it can be to get your little ones to eat their greens and snack on fruit instead of chocolate and sweets.
But what I didn’t know was that eating habits aren’t intuitive, they are learnt. This means that the eating habits your kids develop at home, will most probably stick with them throughout their lives.
It’s a scary thought that as a dad, if I don’t teach my children about health and nutrition properly, I could end up damaging them for life. That’s why encouraging healthy eating and adding new flavours to your children’s diet, is so important.
Here are my top tips for encouraging your children to eat healthily and try new things:
Eat diverse foods
Children have a tendency to mimic what you, as a parent, do. So, if your children see you eating a diverse range of healthy foods, they will be more likely to give them a try.
Although it can be tempting to buy ready made meals, don’t do it. If your children become accustomed to eating unhealthy, readymade meals, that’s why they will presume is normal. Instead, take the time to make healthy, nutritious, homemade food.
To encourage your children to get used to new flavours and textures, add a new ingredient, flavour or herb to a dish they already love. For example, you could add an extra vegetable to your vegetable lasagne or homemade soup and see how your children get on with it.
Grow your own fruits and veggies
A fantastic way to encourage your children to eat healthily and try new fruits and vegetables is growing your own produce. Turn an unused area in your garden into a vegetable and fruit growing area, and use it to grow lots of organic fruit and veg.
Ask each child if there is anything they would like to grow, this will help your children to feel involved in the project, encouraging them to eat what they have grown.
To find the best seeds and fruit trees for sale online do some research and browse a few different sites. Once you have found a site that offers good quality produce, buy what you need and create your own family fruit and vegetable garden.
Make healthy foods fun
To encourage your kids to enjoy eating a healthy diet, make eating healthy foods fun. The more fun and enjoyable you make it for your child to eat a certain food, the more likely they are to eat it again.
One way to make vegetable batons or fruit sticks more enjoyable is by adding a dip selection to the table. For fruit sticks, provide your child with yogurt dips, for veggie sticks give your child a hummus or tomato-based dip to try.
For younger children, make eating healthy foods fun by turning snack time into play time. Cut up chunks of mango, apple, pear, kiwi, and strawberries and let your child use the fruit to make a face on their plate. By encouraging your child to play with their food, you are showing them that healthy food can be fun.