Every well-meaning parent longs for their children to be healthy and eat healthily, but sometimes that seems easier said than done. In this article, my friend, Susan Neal, will share 8 tips you can use to entice kids to eat healthy foods.
On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, Susan and I talked about how to help our children establish good health and eating habits. It was a fabulous episode and if you missed it, you can listen here: Help Your Children Establish Good Health and Eating Habits – Episode 144.
8 Tips to Entice Kids to Eat Healthy Foods
By Susan Neal, RN, MBA, MHS
Did you know God created over 100 vegetables and 50 fruits? Most kids probably don’t know this either. Have you eaten all of those produce items? Wouldn’t it be fun to try each one with your children? God created humans, and he knew exactly what we needed to eat. That’s why he created double the amount of vegetables than fruits. Fruits are God’s dessert and vegetables are his staple. So how do we get kids to eat them? You’ve got to make it fun.
- Each week, ask your child to choose one produce item for the family to try. Take your kids to the produce section of the grocery store on a scavenger hunt to find the colors for each vegetable and fruit. Take photos of interesting items and when you get home, ask your kid to draw them.
- Try a new recipe each week with your children. The new picture book, Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating, provides a recipe for parents to do with their child for each of the following food groups: vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, and meat.
- Create snack bags with your youngsters that include their favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Put a half cup in each bag and place them in your pantry. The next time you’re running out the door for an athletic event, your kids can grab a healthy snack.
- Educate your children about the health benefits of consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grains (not processed), nuts, seeds, and meat. Have them determine the vitamins in different foods. Help them figure out what produce item might improve their vision or give them more energy.
- Teach your children to read food labels. When I took my kids to the grocery store, we had the rule that we couldn’t buy any item with over 10 grams of sugar. They would grab the package, find the sugar level, and tell me, “Mom, it has 24 grams of sugar in one granola bar.” So we wouldn’t buy it. They understood why and would look for another snack. Many times they found an item with 12 grams of sugar, and that was close enough, so we got it. I taught my kids to read labels to see if it included hydrogenated oil, because that ingredient causes health problems. A couple years later, all foods in the United States had to be labeled if it included this ingredient. Mama knew what she was talking about.
- Teach your kids that products made from white flour have been stripped of their nutrients. In fact, they may cause a child to grow wider instead of taller. Explain how food manufacturers want consumers to buy more of their products, so they add sugar, salt, and fats to get them hooked. Food manufacturers want to make a profit, and sometimes that profit comes at the consumers’ expense.
- Check the Environmental Working Group’s findings that showed that almost all oat-based cereal products marketed to children contained the carcinogen residue from glyphosate. Check the list in this article for the level of glyphosate found in your child’s favorite cereal. Therefore, you should buy organic oat products.
- Expand your child’s palate, knowledge, and point of view about healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. If you do, they may grab a grocery store product, read the label, and tell you why it is not healthy. And they may select some fun, interesting fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle. Enjoy exploring all of God’s food with your family.
What has worked for you to entice your children or grandchildren to eat healthy foods? We’d love to hear in the comments below!
About Susan Neal
Susan Neal RN, MBA, MHS teaches both adults and children healthy nutritional guidelines. Not only that, she lives out what she teaches. Susan loves to share with others what she’s learned about health and nutrition, and now she wants to educate children about developing wholesome eating habits. She is the author of eight healthy living books including her two newest publications Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating and Solving the Gluten Puzzle.
Connect with Susan: Website
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Help Your Children Establish Good Health and Eating Habits – Episode 144, Susan Neal is giving away a free copy of her book, Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one you learned about ways you can entice your kids to eat healthy foods and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, January 24, 2022. Continental United States only.