Parent Hacks: Tricking Your Kids into Eating Wholesome and Diverse
From sugar rushes to late night snacking, every other rule from the big book of childhood mischief encourages them to adopt unhealthy eating habits.
- 1. Make Balanced Nutrition a Family Affair
- 2. Throw a Family Dinner Party Every Evening
- 3. Find a Healthy Alternative and Make It Irresistible
- 4. Make Veggies and Fruits Alluringly Playful
There’s nothing more frustrating than an uneaten carrot on the kiddy plate! As if parenthood wasn’t challenging enough, our little daredevils have an unwritten agreement to turn family dinners into battlefronts. From sugar rushes to late night snacking, every other rule from the big book of childhood mischief encourages them to adopt unhealthy eating habits. And, from the parent’s perspective, those often seems impossible to uproot.
Luckily, it only seems like this at first glance. Here’s how to persuade your little fast-food lovers that there’s more to food than meets the eye.
1. Make Balanced Nutrition a Family Affair
Parents often make the mistake of offering chips and ice-cream as a reward for eating fruits and vegetables; though practical, this method is still not a viable solution. Instead of focusing solely on introducing unprocessed foods into the daily nutrition regime, you should develop a strategy for building a healthy eating culture in your home.
Essentially, this means offering a variety of home-cooked, nutrition-packed meals, but not only that. Nothing will ever excite children more than greasy snacks and sugary delights, which is why you should work on avoiding these entirely, and making it a family venture.
In order to do so, be sure to include them in your grocery shopping, explain how the food pyramid works and acquaint them with Brussels sprouts, ginger roots and pomegranates right there in the supermarket. In terms of balanced nutrition, being a good role model implies not only getting rid of all unsound choices that spur common childhood illnesses, but being imaginative while doing so. Arrange a cook-along for the whole family to participate in, but make it all about healthy food pop quizzes and new, enthralling ways to prepare them.
2. Throw a Family Dinner Party Every Evening
The same goes for actual meals. While tiresome for teenagers, family dinners are actually appealing for younglings. After all, having a mealtime schedule and eating at approximately the same time each day is of huge benefit to adults, let alone kids. If you’re striving to become the best example your children can have, sharing a meal with them should be your first step.
Making it a family affair, however, is not enough; instead of settling for less, try establishing an ambience of warmth and comfort that only a ritual can offer. Making a family meals board, for instance, is easy enough, and can be an irresistible DIY project for both you as a parent and your creative heirs. Once the project is done, keep the spirit alive by making weekly menus, calculating the nutritional value of each individual piece of produce and writing it all on the board for all family members to see.
3. Find a Healthy Alternative and Make It Irresistible
For every parent who’s tried, cutting off sugar has proven quite impossible. And, when it comes to junk food, the case is pretty much the same. There is, however, a way of making a compromise by devising delicious and visually tempting meals that will resemble the type of food kids are most attracted to, while still remaining wholesome and beneficial to their health.
For years, Jamie Oliver has been preparing healthy hamburgers and trying to convince parents to embrace the trend. Junk food alternatives are pretty easy to make and they don’t necessarily have to be costly; the only thing you need is time and creativity. So, the next time your little McDonalds addicts ask for French fries, surprise them with grilled ones straight from the oven. Everything they want can be made at home, where you can control the ingredients and levels of sugar, salt and fat, but you have to research recipes and prepare beforehand in order to make it just as appealing as its less healthy alternative.
4. Make Veggies and Fruits Alluringly Playful
Even if they’re not picky at all, most kids would rather stay hungry than prepare something on their own. This is the harsh truth that every parent needs to be aware of and address before it becomes too late. Involving them in the cooking process is certainly the best way to develop healthy eating habits, but if that doesn’t work out, you’ll have to go the extra mile and indulge their nibbling needs by yourself.
Especially when it comes to veggies and fruits, parents need to be particularly clever and crafty. Keeping fresh and washed fruit always on hand is simply not enough – try working on presentation as well. Offer strawberries, grapes and pineapples in a form of a fruity skewer mix, use broccoli’s resemblance to little trees and serve them as a tiny forest with cheese dip to represent snow. Experiment with colors and shapes, not only flavors, and you’ll be surprised how soon they will be hooked!
However challenging a feat, teaching your little ones to make healthy eating choices can actually be fun for the whole family. Like always when dealing with kids, do your best to awaken your inner child and let it find a playful, thrilling and creative kitchen approach that your junior gourmands won’t be able to resist.