5 Ways to Help Kids Make and Enjoy Real Food
It’s easy to raise healthy eaters when you involve kids in the making of real food itself. Here are 5 tips to show you how.
Guest blogger Eva Van Strijp talks us through her methods.
Have a fussy eater on your hand?
Find yourself Googling “raising healthy eaters without pulling my hair out” at about dinner time?
Wonder how other kids seem to consume carrot sticks and broccoli without a fuss?
You aren’t alone!
I know how tough it can be to encourage healthy eating in kids, however you can change that by helping kids be more independent and involved in the food prep and cooking phase.
Here are 5 ways to raise healthy eaters simply by boosting their sense of independence and involvement:
1. Grow Your Own Food
You may not have a farm or even a large yard, but you can have a few pots or beds with veggies and herbs.
Gardening is a great activity to help kids get to know their food better and understand the difference between “real” and “from a box” food items.
2. Make Setting the Table a Fun Family Activity
Do your kids have table setting as one of their chores?
If no, it might be time to change that. Setting the table is a simple yet effective way to involve kids in everyday meals.
They’re more likely to enjoy sitting down and eating when they’ve been involved in making the table look nice for the whole family.
Plus, it’s one less thing for you to do as well.
3. Involve Kids in Food Prep
This is one of the most effective yet often overlooked way of helping kids eat healthy.
If you put the salad items out for them to make their own sandwich, there are more chances of them eating it than if you were to pop it ready-made on their plate.
Similarly, see if you can make meal prep a part of their job rosters or chore charts and involve them in age-appropriate tasks, like shelling peas, peeling potatoes or boiled eggs, buttering toast and slicing fruit using a child-friendly knife and so on.
4. Menu Plan with the Littlies
Raising healthy eaters means that kids need to be a part of the meal planning and decision-making process.
Sure, you may not want to have Vegemite on toast every.single.day but you can most definitely include them in menu planning and make suggestions and accept some of theirs as well.
5. Take them Shopping
Finally and most importantly, involve the kids when you go grocery shopping. Now as crazy as this idea may seem, hear me out.
Include the kids in planning the grocery list based around the menu planning you’ve done. Older kids can estimate the budget you’ll need. Younger kids can identify which aisles to head to. Let them pick 1-2 items each FROM that list when in the store. They feel they’re shopping and helping while you get everything you actually need.
Raising healthy eaters goes beyond just cooking healthy meals.
It comes down to including the “eaters” themselves in the process, and yes, it takes time but it is totally worth it when they pick out carrots and cauliflowers in the produce section and feel that they’ve won a prize!
Eva Van Strijp is a mother of five, business owner and creator of Simple Life, Peaceful Home – the 8 week strategy guiding busy mothers through the process of creating and maintaining a simple, peaceful family home. When Eva isn’t hanging out with her family or running a business, she’s eating chocolate, listening to podcasts or tending her veggie patch.
You can follow Eva’s journey through her Facebook page and Blog.