Here are seven tips for getting your kids to eat as well as you do:
1. Set the example
What we actually do as parents makes a much greater impact on our children. Focus on your own health first and your children will follow.
As Albert Schweitzer wrote: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
2. If at first you don’t succeed …
Often times, parents introduce a healthy food, and if their child doesn’t like it, they give it up. The fact is that it takes multiple tries for a child to get used to a new taste. Keep putting the food on the table, and use the food in different dishes.
3. Emphasize the connection between food and fun
Even very young children understand the concept that foods can help the body be strong and vibrant. Relate the food they’re eating to the things they like to do: monkey bars, swings, running around, climbing trees, jungle gyms, and … being happy.
A healthy body is a body that can have more fun, and children want to have fun! Explain in simple terms that you, as a parent, want to give them foods that allow them to do the things that they have fun doing.
4. Color it up
Humans are naturally attracted to beautiful colors (ask yourself what you feel like doing when you see a big red strawberry). Make the foods you eat and prepare look as colorful as possible. There are also all natural food dyes that can turn your child’s meal into a whole other experience (green mashed potatoes!).
5. Enroll them in the ‘shop and prep’
Involve your children in the process of how food ends up in your house and on your table. Bring your kids to the grocery store and show them what’s offered there — both healthy and unhealthy. Ask them which healthy foods they’d like to bring home for the whole family. Once home, involve them in food preparation. Buy some whole grain pizza crusts (or, if you have time, make your own), and have your children build their own pizzas with healthy toppings you provide.
6. Make it fun
Making up funny names for foods makes eating healthy way more fun. Try turning a smoothie into a “mermaid smoothie” or “dragon smoothie.”
7. Don’t aim for perfection; instead, focus on MOTT
Your family’s health is a result of your MOTT: what you do Most Of The Time. It’s not the once-in-a-while treats, but how you eat most of the time. Improving your MOTT means you can still have fun food experiences (dining out, parties, etc.) without sacrificing your family’s health.
Remember your job as a parent — to raise happy, healthy children.
The job for parents is to ensure the health and happiness of our children — to help them grow up the best they can — and feeding their growing bodies nourishing food most of the time is crucial.