How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. How in the world do you get your kids to eat healthy? How can you make them not complain when they have veggies for dinner? How can you make sure they’re not on the way to obesity? How can you change their eating habits so that they are more likely to choose nutritious foods over junk food? How do you make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need for their growing bodies? How do you convince them that vegetables are actually yummy, not just something made of weeds and dirt that has no taste whatsoever? This blog post will answer all these questions and more!

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Start with a positive attitude. Kids are more likely to eat healthy if they’re encouraged. Instead of pushing them, try to encourage them. How? By giving positive feedback for eating healthy foods and negative feedback (asking if it’s okay that they aren’t getting enough vitamins) when the child is refusing their veggies or other nutritious foods. Teach your children about how good eating healthy is for them by making sure they understand how certain foods are better than others (i.e., bananas vs chocolate). Explain why their bodies need certain nutrients; different vitamins are useful for helping with specific things (like eyesight), etc., but don’t lecture!

Make Healthy Food Fun

Serve healthy foods in a fun, creative way. Use a variety of different colors in your dishes to make them more enticing for kids. Use cookie cutters to make fruit into shapes or serve vegetables on a stick. How about some tasty veggie kabobs? How many creative ways can you think of to make vegetables more appealing and less like “chores” your children have to do before they get treats or other foods that aren’t so good for them? Make it seem like you’re giving your child a treat, not punishing them by making them eat something healthy.

Get Them Involved in The Cooking Process

Make it fun! Add some music while you cook together, or set up a tablecloth on the floor where everyone can sit down together. Be creative! Keep trying new recipes. Experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques for new flavors that your kids will love to help you cook and eat. Try to keep mealtime fun by not using food as a reward or punishment. It could be challenging at first, but it will become part of your family’s routine if you work on this every day!

Let Your Kids Have the Option to Choose What They Want to Eat

From their choices; don’t pressure them. At the same time, don’t force your kids to eat everything on their plate, but don’t let them go hungry either! To avoid waste and overeating, serve reasonable portions of healthy food at every meal. Don’t use “clean plates” to measure how much children should eat – it’s just too hard for young children to manage this kind of thinking when eating.

How much your child eats depends on age:

Toddlers (ages one and a half years old)

Usually only require about three ounces per day – roughly 100 calories each day from formula or breast milk. This will gradually increase until they are five years old.

Children (ages two and a half to seven)

Children need about six ounces per day – or roughly 200 calories each day from milk, yogurt, and cheese; meat is the best source of protein for young children. This will gradually increase until they’re ten years old.

Adolescents (ages eight to twelve)

They require about nine ounces every day — this means that a growing girl needs just over 300 calories from dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, while boys ages eight to thirteen are looking at 400 healthy calories daily. How much they should be eating depends on how fast their body is developing – if they have a growth spurt, then you might find them raiding your fridge all the time.

Serve Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal, Including Breakfast

When you are preparing food, cut up their favorite fruit or vegetables and put them on the side of the plate. Start serving the kids their vegetables first, and serve fruit as dessert instead of ice cream or cake.

Offer Healthy Snacks Before Meals, Like Fruits or Nuts, and Make Them Available at All Times

This includes dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, etc. Keep unhealthy snacks out of sight so kids will be less tempted to eat junk food when hunger strikes. Limit the intake of sugary or high-sugar foods like candy, juice, cakes, etc., as well as any food with artificial coloring or flavoring added. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink.

Eat Together as Often as Possible!

Mealtime is an important time for family bonding and brings everyone together. Plus, when they see everyone else eating their veggies, it will help encourage them, too. Children love to imitate the behavior of others. So, if you want them to eat right and stay healthy, then model that behavior for them. Eat your veggies or other healthy food options whenever possible in front of your kids so they can see how yummy they are. And be sure not to comment on what a “picky eater” they are when they refuse those healthier items. Praise children’s efforts to eat well as often as possible instead of dwelling on their failures. This will encourage and motivate good behavior rather than making negative comments about poor ones, discouraging future attempts at better choices.

Final Thoughts

With as much time that goes into devising ways to get our children to eat healthier foods, one would think we were plotting world domination! At the end of the day, your child is still going to want what they want. But you can make it more likely that they’ll also eat some vegetables or fruit if you try these simple tactics. And with a little bit of practice, raising healthy kids doesn’t have to be so hard after all! How does your child do with fruits and veggies? What are your best tips for getting kids to eat better? Share them in the comments below and help other parents out there who could use a few extra tricks up their sleeve, too. 



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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