10 Mom Tested Tips for More Healthy Eating

When my first born was a baby, I followed the new mom trend to a “T.” I bought every book imaginable on raising children, from how to set sleep schedules, to how to best discipline, to how to make and freeze your own fully organic meals for you little cherub.

For months, I spent every Sunday afternoon scrubbing vegetables and fruits, cooking them until they turned to mush, pureeing and mashing them into smooth liquids that could be easily swallowed by the toothless. I had large Ziplocs in my freezer full of every kind of healthy food imaginable, all having first been frozen into perfect little ice cube sizes.

Then I had another baby, and Sundays were more survival than preparation. By the time the third baby came around, I was fully content with the cheapest glass jar of pre-prepared baby food possible. Gone were the recipes, the ice trays, and the organic trays of food.

This was all about self preservation.

Fast forward ten years, and I’m now the mother of three elementary age children who each have their own likes and dislikes, each of them picky in different ways, and each keeping me on my toes in my attempt to not ruin them nutritionally.

When I look back on those earlier years, I wish I had kept fighting the good fight. Perhaps I could have toned it back a bit, but truthfully, I gave up completely in trying to teach them young to love good, healthy foods. It was just easier to serve the packaged foods that tasted better.

Now that they’re older, I have to be more creative in my attempts to feed them healthy food. A lot of encouraging more healthy eating habits with children is in the presentation of the food! Here are 10 ways to teach your children to love healthy foods.

10 Mom Tested Tips for More Healthy Eating
1.) Serve a ham sandwich on wheat bread, and hear them gag. Cut it out in the shape of a gingerbread man, or a princess crown and it suddenly becomes a delicacy.

2.) Apples on their own are disgusting. Apples dipped in peanut butter? Greatest thing ever!

3.) Ranch dressing improves any and all vegetables.

4.) If you teach a ten year old how to sauté vegetables, and let him pick which spices he wants on them, he will gobble down plates of veggies at a time with nary a peep.

5.) If you keep OREO’s in the pantry, they will always choose those over a healthier option, so make the cookies a rare special purchase, rather than a staple.

6.) You can try to hide healthy ingredients in their food, but they will probably figure it out, and it will gross them out. It’s best to just be honest from the get-go. They’re much more likely to try food if they’re prepared for what’s inside.

7.) Only put three bites of a food you know they won’t like on their plate, and require them to eat it. Anyone can eat three bites, and the more they try, the more likely they are to become adventurous eaters.

8.) Don’t force a food on a child if they really, truly hate it. My parents used to make me try fish frequently, even though I hated it. They stopped when I fainted in a crab shop when I was eleven. Don’t make your children pass out over food…

9.) Never underestimate the power of trail mix. You can mix together a large container of peanuts, almonds, granola, raisins, and dried fruit, and if you throw in one bag of M&M’s, they will thank you for giving them candy for a snack. This is a big win, every time (and obviously only effective for children without nut allergies).

10.) Model healthy eating habits. If I require my children to eat healthy snacks, but they constantly catch me with my fist in the cookie jar, they’re not going to take me seriously.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s good to be intentional about nutrition as I feed my family, but I don’t have to be overzealous. I want to raise brave eaters, but I don’t want to be so staunch in my food requirements that they resent healthy foods.

Eating is an adventure, and being in charge of food preparation is a huge responsibility. And remember food choices can play a role in the severity of seasonal allergy symptoms. How are you teaching your children to love healthy foods?

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