It’s really easy to morph from a parent who only feeds their child organic, healthy snacks into a parent who feeds their child whatever is within close proximity. (Or whatever they don’t throw at you.) Kids are picky, and they don’t usually like to try new things. And while it may be close to impossible to feed your child organic, low-sugar, high-fiber meals each and every day, the more often you do, the more likely they are to continue to eat healthy long after they grow up and leave you.
Meal and snack prep are key. Pick one day a week to pack up snack bags with carrots, apple slices, oranges slices, or whatever other fruit or veggie is your child’s favorite to munch on. While you’re at it, plan out your meals for the week and prep them if you can. Having a plan and easy-to-grab healthy snacks will make a huge difference in how well your child — and you — eat. If they can grab a box of cookies, they can grab a bag of carrots.
2. Make It a Habit
If you’ve been stuck in a trend of eating easy, processed foods, you can break out of it anytime you choose. The first step is to simply stop buying it at the store. We all know that junk food is cheaper than healthy food, thanks to an abundance of coupons and sales, but healthy foods go on sale, too. Stock up on them and freeze anything you can while they are on sale. Once the sugar is out of your child’s system, it will be easier for her to reach for a healthy snack — the one you’ve got prepped and ready to go.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
You’ve got to walk the walk, too. You can’t just tell your children to eat healthy while they watch you lick the ice cream container clean. Eating healthy has to be a way of life for your entire family, so make the change, and stick to it. Lead by example.
4. Plan Ahead
If you know you’re going to be out running errands all day and you don’t plan what you and the kids are going to eat, you’re going to end up at a fast food joint for dinner. That’s just the way it is. So, plan ahead by packing lunches and stopping at a park to eat at a picnic table or on a blanket. Not only will it be a wonderful break from your hectic day, but you’ll all get some fresh air and you’ll be sticking to that healthy diet. Plus you won’t feel bloated and guilty afterwards. If it’s raining, hang out in the car and chat or put on a video.
5. Don’t Give Up
Sometimes it takes numerous tries before a child will finally decide he or she likes a certain food — like broccoli. It isn’t necessarily that they don’t like it, but they just like cookies better. Just chill and keep moving forward. They'll get used to the change, and used to the taste, and before you know it, they'll stop begging for those cookies.
Kids are kids — picky, but resilient. Give them a chance to enjoy eating healthy and they may surprise you.