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How to get kids to eat healthy.

Recently, I was asked by my lovely friend Kate Toholka of SummerSalt Life to participate in a workshop which focused on introducing women to a more holistic lifestyle.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to engage with others and find out more about people’s well being journeys.

One thing that seemed a big concern to many of the work shop goers was how they could extend their new wonderful healthy eating habits beyond themselves and into their families.  How do you get kids to eat healthy food?

It’s a good question and I have a few ideas (after travelling this road myself over the past decade – not always successfully) that I would like to share with you…

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How I get my kids to eat healthy…

1.  Have a good breakfast

Filling kids up at breakfast time with nourishing whole foods is a good way to keep them from looking for snacks and treats all morning.  Encourage a good start to the day with energising meals like porridge with grated apples, chopped almonds and honey or scrambled eggs and buttered toast.  Smoothies are also a great way to start the day and a wonderful thing to get kids involved in making.

2.  Snacks are good for kids + letting them choose.

Kids get hungry and they need lots of delicious, healthy food to keep them stay full of fun and energy – but choose snacks wisely.  Fruit, nuts and seeds, home made muffins and muesli bars, chopped veggies with dip such as hummus or smashed avocado, organic cheese cubes are all good choices.

Giving kids a choice often helps promotes healthy eating.  I like to make a platter for my kids with a selection of different things for them to choose from.  I also take requests on weekends when I have more time and make healthy homemade versions of everyones favourites like pizza and sausage rolls.

3.  Be consistent and a good role model

Don’t give up!  Continue to offer healthy foods to kids – like chopped carrot and celery for example and they will eventually begin to enjoy it.  Allow kids to taste food, play with it, touch it and don’t be too worried what gets left behind to begin with.  Being a good role model for your children by eating healthy whole foods yourself is really important.

When there are only healthy snacks on offer, it won’t take long before kids start tucking in.

4.  Be tough!

Okay…I’m probably a little tougher than some mums but it works for me.  The rule in our house at dinner time is that everyone needs to at least have a go at each thing on their plate.  It is up to each person whether they choose to eat or not, but if dinner doesn’t get eaten up there is nothing else – and certainly no dessert.  I stick to this rule so my kids know I mean business.  It also makes mealtimes a lot more peaceful too!

5. Keep it simple

Family food in my house is a very simple affair.  We are so fortunate to be part of an organic fruit and vegetable co-op so what we eat depends on what arrives in our box.  Our meals are simply prepared seasonal veggies and good quality meats.  Kids love simple food and there is nothing wrong with good quality sausages, buttery mash and some steamed greens.  Pasta with homemade pesto is quick, easy and nutritious and soup with toast spread thick with avocado is a wonderful way of getting in a good variety of vegetables too.

7.  My whole food go-to foods

Here are some of the tasty treats you will find my kids filling up on:

  • Fresh fruit like apples, pears, bananas, blueberries and strawberries.
  • Whole grains, prepared traditionally by soaking first to optimise digestion.  Brown rice, oats and quinoa are favourites.
  • Good quality grass fed meats to make bolognese, sausages and meatballs and organic roasted chicken which is wonderful for the leftovers.
  • Organic dried apricots, organic popcorn, good quality crackers.
  • Organic cheese and full fat natural yoghurt and almond milk for the dairy sensitive.
  • Dips like hummus, pesto and avocado served with chopped veggies and crackers.
  • Home made treats like bliss balls, muesli bars and whole food cookies.
  • Soups made with homemade stocks and broths make a great mid afternoon snack.

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The final tip I have is don’t take the whole healthy eating thing too seriously – I mean it is important, of course as we absolutely are what we eat and we want to set great foundations for our children to live healthy lives, however, creating stress or anxiety around food is far more damaging than the occasional ice-cream or chocolate biscuit.

Food should be fun, it should be delicious and as close to it’s natural state as possible.  Celebrate food and eating in your family, get everyone involved from growing it, buying it and preparing it and watch your kids flourish!

What are your tips for getting kids to go healthy?  I would love to hear about your favourite whole food go-to meals…let’s share the love and support each other in this rewarding, but sometimes challenging mission!

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Happy Eating!

Mamacino x

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “How to get kids to eat healthy.

  1. Such good tips, even for those of us without kids. 🙂 Sometimes my brain frizzles and I can’t think of a healthy snack to save my life. 🙂

    1. Oh, I’m like that with breakfast Krista! Some mornings, I just go without because I can’t think of anything gluten free and low on sugar (i.e. fruit) that I really want to eat x

  2. Lovely words of advice Mamacino!

    1. Thank you Lisa xx

  3. Great tips Kristin! One of my best tips is having the healthy food out when you know the kids are going to be ravenous! For my kids, that’s always after school : )

    1. I agree! Some night my kids have tea at 5pm because I know they are starving and will eat whatever I serve them, but if I leave it another hour, they will be over hungry and over it.

  4. Love this post Kristin. The thing is that it doesn’t need to be complicated. We got home from holiday today and I am exhausted and couldn’t be bothered cooking much so it was organic sausages and eggs with chopped up carrots and cucumber. Dinner – done. Not overly excited, but real food nonetheless. Thanks for your tips – I always love seeing what other people’s kids eat!

    1. So true Lisa – keep it simple and you always come up with a winner x

  5. Great & helpful tips & love your post Kristin.:) x

    1. Thanks Jade, and thanks for all your smoothie inspiration!

  6. Such good helpful tips here and if you take it to seriously you begin to lose the plot….!!

    1. Yep, been there myself xx

  7. Great article Kristin – I look forward to sharing it with my followers 🙂

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it x

  8. I do something similar at meal times. The kids (I’ve given up on my husband) must try whatever I have made and then if they don’t like it, they don’t have to have anymore. I usually say if they have 3 decent mouthfuls then they can have a piece of spelt bread with peanut butter but if they refuse to try then they don’t get anything else. I am lucky that my 6yo is pretty good, she often requests salads and will eat almost any vegetable. My 4yo however has gone to bed many times without having dinner; he doesn’t wake during the night and is not especially hungry in the morning, so I figure he’s had enough to eat during the day (he snacks a lot). My rule has always been to keep good food in the house and they will have to eat it!! I loved your post and was a good reminder of some different snack ideas. Thanks 🙂

    1. It sounds like you have it all under control Melissa…we can only keep doing our best, right?

  9. […] for some general ideas on how to get kids to eat healthy and a list of my whole food go-to foods, simply click here and for even more lunch box recipes, visit this […]

  10. We love your sausage roll recipe. It’s the best. Do I get organic pop corn from a health food shop? I’ll check next time I’m there. And organic cheese… from the supermarket?
    I just wish I could sit with a cuppa and pick your brains sometimes!
    thanks again
    Rachel

    1. Where do you live? Let’s have a cup of tea together, lol! Yes, organic popcorn is pretty easy to find in health food shops and organic cheese is available at the supermarket x

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