When I meet other moms for the first time, they’re often so surprised at how healthy my kids eat. In fact, these days my kids will choose healthier alternatives even when I’m not there to guide their choices. Of course, we indulge sometimes but overall, we eat pretty healthy.
Since so many moms ask me how I’m able to get my twelve and five year olds to consistently eat healthy foods, I want to share six things that I do to motivate my family to eat healthy foods so that you can start doing it too.
Be creative with salads
The days of boring salads with just lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a couple of croutons are over. My children love salad but it takes some creativity to make a salad that they devour. Try adding color, texture, and different flavors to your salads to make them more appealing. I generally use spinach instead of lettuce because spinach tastes better and is more nutritious. Nuts are commonplace in my salads too, especially sunflower seeds. Fruits like mandarin oranges, raisins, or craizins are also added to give a burst of sweetness that my kids love. You can even make your salads into a meal by adding some protein like grilled chicken or crumbled bacon.
Add some crunch
Many kids prefer raw vegetables over cooked vegetables and I think it’s because of the crunchy texture. So, if your kids like crunchy food, try substituting baby carrots, celery, bell peppers, and other crunchy vegetables in place of the chips. Prepare some healthy dips and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they gobble it down. Alternatively, you can coat veggies like green beans and zucchini with eggs and panko or ordinary breadcrumbs and bake them for a few minutes to give them a flavorful crunch. That is a treat that your family will love. My husband really likes this and can’t get enough when I prepare it.
Experiment with flavor and spices
Use different spices. My girlfriend’s son loves curry and he’ll eat anything with curry – including a heaping helping of vegetables. If you find a flavor that your kids really, really like – then you might be able to get them to eat vegetables joyously.
Make veggie-loaded casseroles
This is one of my favorite ways to get my family to eat vegetables because we love casseroles so much. If your family doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables, try hiding them in your casseroles. Casseroles are full of delicious meat, sauces, and noodles, so try throwing in some peas, corn, carrots, and other nutritious veggies. They won’t even notice all of the vegetables because the casserole will be so flavorful.
Make it a family affair
This is a total life saver when it comes to getting my family to eat healthier. I often invite my husband and kids to prepare meals with me. I’ve found that when they help with the meals, then not only do we have more time to bond as a family, but they are more eager to eat everything that is prepared without any complaint.
Indulge on occasion
We indulge sometimes and you probably should too. You don’t want your family to feel like they’re deprived because that may cause them to crave the wrong kinds of food even more and you might find them sneaking them in when you’re not around. Instead, allow them to indulge in less healthy foods every so often. Knowing that they’ll get a few potato chips or a bowl of ice cream at the end of the week might help them stick to making healthy food choices the rest of the time.
Getting your family to eat healthy might seem hard when you first start, but if you’re creative with your meals and snack choices, they’ll eventually come to love healthy eating.