With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy for both adults and children to splurge on sweets and ignore those yummy fruits and veggies. However, getting your kids to eat healthy can be a challenge all year long. Whether your child is a picky eater or you have simply run out of ideas, here are five tips to healthy eating for kids.
1. Cook with Your Children
One of the easiest tricks in the book to encourage your children to eat is to have them cook with you. Kids thrive on learning new things and take pride in their accomplishments. Not only will your child eat a meal that he helped prepare, but he will urge others to try it as well.
With this tactic in mind, you can focus on preparing healthy recipes with your child. Here are some healthy recipes to try cooking with your kids:
- Macaroni and Cheese Muffins
- Mini Meatloaf
- Cheesy Spinach Squares
- Ham and Pineapple Pita Pizzas
- Mini Whole Wheat Chicken Pot Pies
2. Listen to Your Children
As your children grow and try new foods, they will learn what they like and don’t like. Pay attention and listen to what they have to say.
“Ewwww, peas! Not again!”
Or . . .
“Mmmmm, cheesy broccoli and chicken! That’s my favorite!
3. Plan Meals as a Family
When planning meals as a family, take the lead by suggesting main courses and asking your kids what they would like to cook for side dishes. Alternatively, you can give them the opportunity to be in charge of planning the entire meal – with some guidance of course! By planning each meal as a family, you can ensure that your child will like what you cook.
This gives you the opportunity to hear more closely what your children like and don’t like as well as involve them in family decisions. Just like having assigned student jobs in our classrooms, involving your children in making family decisions promotes their growth and encourages their sense of responsibility.
4. Cut Back on Junk
If your goal is to encourage healthier eating for your kids, then you can reach this goal by cutting back on junk food. Turn cakes, cookies, candies, and other sugary sweets into sometimes treats instead of regular household staples. Instead, fill your house with fresh fruits like bananas, clementine oranges, berries, and melons. They are a healthy alternative to help calm that sweet tooth. Here is a list of additional healthy snack alternatives.
- Zucchini and Walnut Muffins
- Fruit Cup in a Plain Ice Cream Cone
- Frozen Bananas Dipped in Chocolate with Nuts
- Rice Cakes Topped with Peanut Butter or Nutella
- Low-Fat Greek Yogurt with Homemade Dark Chocolate and Almond Granola
5. Reward Healthy Choices
Just like good behavior, parents should reward children when they make healthy food choices. This positive reinforcement will encourage children to continue picking healthy food over junk. By knowing how to select healthy foods from a young age, kids will be able to make smart food choices as they grow, which will help promote happy and active lifestyles. Ways to reward healthy choices include:
- Extending Bedtime by an Hour
- Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet Time
- Selecting Something Special for Dinner
- Eliminating a Chore from Their Weekly Chore Chart
- Allow Them to Plan a Special Trip like Hiking, Camping, or a Picnic
Healthy Food Program at Buzy Beez
Each day at Buzy Beez Child Care Center, we provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks. All food offered by our daycare promotes healthy child development and growth. We want your children to grow up smart and strong.
Snacks we provide include cheese and crackers, yogurt, pretzels and apples, clementines, animal crackers, and granola bars. Along with milk, a typical breakfast may consist of cereal, oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, toast, or fresh fruit. Our lunches are also well-balances and nutritious – a protein, a grain, a fruit, and a vegetable. For example, a typical lunch at Buzy Beez may consist of homemade chicken nuggets, rice, carrots, and cantaloupe. Milk is also served with every lunch.
To inquire about services provided by Buzy Beez Child Care Center, contact us online or call 603-269-3550.