Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it should be fun, that way, your kids won’t even know that they are eating their greens. March is National Nutrition Month and we are celebrating by giving you some tips on teaching your kids the importance of food, nutrition and eating skills. As the saying goes, “A healthy outside starts with a healthy inside.”
We aren’t experts in nutrition, so we are rounding up some great advice shared by one of the many healthy Instagram pages that we follow: @lunchesandlittles. She asked 6 dieticians on getting kids to eat their veggies and here is what they had to say:
- “Don’t stress if your child wants ketchup on everything. It’s better for them to eat broccoli covered in ketchup, than no broccoli at all. Look for varieties with no preservatives and minimal sugar.” – @milknhoneynutrition (milkandhoneynutrition.com)
- “Try preparing and serving vegetables in different ways. For example, if your little one turns their nose up at roasted carrots, serve them raw with a healthy dip! Instead of mashed potatoes, try baked sweet potato fries. Cutting veggies into fun shapes is another great way to get kids curious and more likely to try a veggie!” – @cookingfortots (cookingfortots.com)
- “Constant exposure is key: aim to serve veggies at most meals including breakfasts and snacks. If you wait until the evening kids are likely to be too tired to want to eat them.” – @drjencohen (linktr.ee/drjencohen)
- “Make eating veggies playful instead of about pressure! One of my girls favorites is when I slice down the spine of sugar snap peas so the “baby peas” can play “peek a boo.” It takes the pressure off of trying to get them to eat and instead invites them to engage with the veggie so that they eventually eat the veggie on their own initiative and out of self-led curiosity.” – @veggiesandvirtue (linktr.ee/veggiesandvirtue)
- “Try offering a dip! Hummus, mashed avocado, and Greek yogurt all make delicious dips for carrots, cucumber, peppers, snap peas, and more!” – @motherhoodandmeals (blog.mabelslabels.com)
- “If you’re struggling with your child wanting to try new vegetables, invite them into the kitchen to help with prep and cooking. Teach your child how to shuck corn, peel a carrot, rinse canned beans or snap broccoli or cauliflower heads into “trees.” The more a child is exposed to a new food (even if they don’t eat it), the more likely they will accept it at a later time.” – @holleygrainger (holleygrainger.com)
As with any part of raising children, no one does a perfect job with nutrition. As a parent, grandparent or nanny, you can help raise healthy eaters during these critical years by doing your best to:
- Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
- Provide calm, pleasant meal times where adults and children can talk together.
- Allow children to use their internal signals to decide how much and what to eat.
- Explore a variety of flavors and foods from different cultures and cuisines.
- Share an appreciation for healthful food, lovingly prepared and shared with others.
- Make simple food safety, such as washing hands, part of every eating occasion.
- Teach basic skills for making positive food choices away from home.
- Find credible food and nutrition resources when you don’t know the answer.