It’s one of the most frustrating parts of raising kids. Getting them to eat healthily can feel like a battle of wills, especially if you don’t practice what you preach. We all want our children to grow up healthy and have a good diet, but if you’re not doing this yourself, it’s time to make sure the whole family adheres to this. What can we do to ensure that the whole family is healthier?
Avoiding The Usual Culprits
It can feel like a pointless exercise to get our children to eat vegetables, like carrots or broccoli, especially if they’ve already decided before trying it that they’re not going to like it. So what’s the solution? While we can’t shove these things down their throats, maybe we need to take an alternative route to be healthy. Instead of picking vegetables that our children know, doing something different may work better. After all, there’s an abundance of things that taste lovely, but they are still classed as vegetables or, at the very least have an abundance of vitamins. Sauerkraut is something that has a lot of probiotics, which is great, and you can turn this into a zingy salad, or put it on the side of a sausage and potato dish, if we can begin to put these vegetables that are not the norm as part of a dish, even if your child tries it, we have to consider it a success.
Get More Water
Even if we can’t encourage our children to eat healthier, at least getting them to drink some more water will put them in the right direction. These days, as children are used to the sweeter drinks, it can be difficult to wean them off sodas and the like. If you are concerned about the quality of your water in first place, resources like theberkey.com can help with items like water filters. If your children aren’t drinking enough water, then maybe consider adding something to it to make it more palatable, like fruit. Fruit water is tasty and can liven up a very dull glass of water.
Introduce One Thing At A Time
There’s no point in drastically overhauling all your meal plans because this will be a shock to the system. Instead, consider making one small change at a time. We are creatures of habit, so it’s better to make one simple alteration or addition so that we can make our peace with it. Over time, you can begin to add one more vegetable or maybe a lettuce leaf and let it accumulate.
Minimize The Sugar
Sugar is bad. It doesn’t take a nuclear scientist to know this, but once we reduce sugar from our diet, we feel so much better. Have you ever had that sugar hangover? And yes, while children find themselves indulging in sugary treats so much, the real solution is to rid your pantry of anything sugary. Not only this but reducing the options in the kitchen means that everyone has limited choice, which isn’t a bad thing! If there are real reasons to have some form of sugar in the household, go for the healthier sweet treats. On snacknation.com there’s an abundance of ideas to make healthy snacks but still reduce the sugar intake.
Make Sure Everyone Eats The Same Thing
As a family, you should be eating the same thing. As soon as you get into the habit of making one thing for one child, and one thing for the rest of the family, the battle is lost. Instead, you need to be firm and provide the same meal for every family member. This way, when we have healthy food in front of us, nobody has any preferential treatment, and we all feel the benefits.
Meal plans are an excellent way to keep on track. It’s great in terms of saving money, but if you have a schedule to stick to in terms of your food, the less temptation there will be to get easy microwavable meals. As it can take some time to get into this habit, by planning your meals, and buying only the items you need, you’re minimizing waste (a very hot topic nowadays) and you are ridding the kitchen of any unhealthy snacks.
Make The Food Look Good
This is especially true for children; if they don’t like the look of something; they’ve already made up their mind that they’re not going to like it. So even if you have an abundance of vegetables and salad on a plate, dressing it up will at least pique their interest. The more colorful the plate, the more attractive it is. And the more colorful the food, the wider the variety of vitamins.
Keep At It!
It can be disheartening to see that your children aren’t embracing a healthy lifestyle, but we have to remember that it’s us that sets the example. If we’re not used to eating healthily ourselves, we are sending a message to our children that it’s okay to be unhealthy. Sometimes it’s as important to tell ourselves that we need to be healthy as it is to tell our children. It’s not something that happens overnight, you need to keep at it. And as these habits become ingrained, you can start to branch out in other ways. For example, if you’re used to eating food in front of the television, sitting down and having a meal as a family can become that important quality time. This is as important as the food you all eat.
Getting the whole family to be healthy is easier said than done, but if you think back to when you were a child, and the reasons why you wouldn’t eat something, was it because you didn’t like the look of it, or it was something you heard about from friends in schools or was it that your parents didn’t eat healthily anyway? As soon as we get this nailed, we can then begin to branch out into other aspects of health, like keeping fit and spending more time as a family. But if you are concerned about your family’s health as a unit, it’s time to integrate change.
*This is a contributed post