This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Having trouble getting the kids to eat their veggies? These easy tips will have them showing off their healthy eating habits in no time!
Teaching our kids healthy eating habits isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Both my kids would much rather have a scoop of ice cream than a plate of green beans, and they love green beans. I can’t really blame them…ice cream IS pretty yummy! However, it doesn’t make for the most healthy dinner so it’s important to me that my kids know what they should and should not be eating. It’s a work in progress but we’re doing pretty well so far!
7 Tips For Teaching Your Kids Healthy Eating Habits
Model healthy eating habits: I think this has helped more than anything with getting my kids to eat their veggies. I love salads and eat them regularly. I’m sure that the reason my girls both love salad is because they see me eating it so much. They may not like everything I put in it but that’s okay. If they want to eat a salad with just lettuce and tomato, that’s good enough for me.
One bite rule: I never force my kids to clean their plates but we do use the one bite rule. Even if they don’t like it, at least they’ve given it a try. Who knows, maybe after enough “one bites”, they’ll learn to like that food after all.
Encourage them to help with shopping: Have the kids help you pick the fruits and veggies. Even though mine will pick green beans almost every time, at least I know they’ll be eating a vegetable. Sometimes I can even convince them to choose other veggies but let them think it was all their idea (moms are so good at this, aren’t we?).
Allow them to help with cooking: When my girls came back from visiting my parents last summer, they suddenly loved carrots. Yes, grandma makes good carrots but that wasn’t the reason for the turnaround. It was because they were helping in the kitchen. The fact that they prepped the carrots themselves seemed to make them taste so much better.
Let them pack their own lunchbox: If you let your child pack what they want for lunch, there’s a much better chance they’ll actually eat it! Of course, you’ll have to give them some guidelines so their lunchbox isn’t full of goldfish and cookies. If you give them enough healthy choices, they’ll put together a lunch you’ll feel good about them bringing to school.
Don’t use sweets as a reward: This is a hard one and I’m guilty of it myself. However, my little one got to the point where she was asking for sweets anytime she did something “good” so I realized it was a habit we needed to break.
Teach moderation: Teach your kids that it’s okay to have ice cream or cookies once in awhile but that less is more. My girls are totally fine with the small portion of ice cream they get for dessert because they understand that too much isn’t healthy.
Sometimes you see these things pay off and it feels good. We went out to dinner for the last day of school and the girls could choose anything they wanted to eat. They took full advantage of it and ordered grilled cheese and a hot dog, definitely not the healthiest of foods. However, even though they were allowed to have whatever they wanted, they both chose fruit over french fries for their side!
I even caught little Keira trying to steal my green beans! That’s okay, I don’t mind sharing!
How the 4-H Food Smart Families Program is helping
I try to practice these tips regularly so I was happy to learn that the 4-H Food Smart Families Program is encouraging healthy eating too. This is a great program that teaches families the importance of planning, sharing and creating healthy meals on a budget. Sadly, there are almost 16 million children living in homes that don’t have regular access to healthy food. UnitedHealthCare and 4-H are working together in 14 states to provide healthy living programs to over 340,000 kids and their families.
One of the ways they are doing is with the 4-H Teens As Teachers model. This encourages teens to take charge and help incorporate healthy habits for their families and communities. More than 400 teens have gone through the Teens As Teachers program. They’re working hard to become mentors to younger children and encouraging their families to shop better and cook smarter. This is a critical age for learning important healthy eating habits that they will use the rest of their lives.
The 4-H Food Smart Families Program has seen great results too! Over 85% of participants think being active is fun and good for their overall fitness, encourage family meals together, say that their families purchase healthier foods as a result of the program and will opt for fruits for a snack over unhealthier choices.
You can see the impact the 4-H program has had in this video:
They say it takes a village and that’s so true! It’s nice to have programs like this to help our children live happier and healthier lives!
Do your children willingly eat their veggies? How do you encourage them to make healthier food choices?