This is the no stress approach to get your kids to eat healthy real food. With these smart tips you’ll have your kids eating well-balanced meals in no time, without the tears. Yours and theirs.
You’re confused and maybe even pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to get your kids to eat healthy. What’s healthy and what’s not? What is real food? How much should they eat? What’s a serving look like? What if I feed them food with toxins? What about refined sugar? Should they eat dairy and meat? There’s so many rules and so many questions!
So your kids aren’t eating the best, that doesn’t mean that you’re bad parent. There’s just so much information out there and you probably don’t know what to believe anymore, am I right? Let’s put all this aside and look at simplifying the whole eating healthy thing.
Let me mention one thing, this article isn’t about following any particular diet (vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto). It’s about making fruits and vegetables a priority in your child’s meals, it’s about eating healthy real food and about making it simple.
It’s pretty straightforward. Feed your kids real food. That’s the one and only rule.
What is real food? Real food is any food that isn’t processed and comes from a whole source. Such as an apple. It’s real food. It hasn’t been created in a factory, it’s not coming from a box and it’s got one ingredient. Milk is a real food also, because it comes from a cow and even if it’s churned into butter, it’s still real food. There’s no artificial ingredients in it.
What’s not real food? This list is a lot longer. An example of a very popular non real food item: processed cheese slices. The aren’t real and the tell-tale “processed” label is telling you that upfront. They have too many ingredients to be real food and they are highly processed in a factory. Some of them are stored on a shelf. Dairy needs to be refrigerated and will sour. Fruit type roll ups don’t fall under the real food heading either. They may say “made with real fruit” but read the ingredient list. There’s nothing real about them. You can, however, make them at home and they would be considered real (fruit puree only) and healthy.
Now that we understand the difference between real food and processed food …
Here are 5 tips to help you get your kids started on their healthy real food journey:
1. Focus on fruits and vegetables:
In order for your kids to love eating healthy food they have to be offered it. Everyday. Every meal. Half your child’s plate should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables. This is the most important tip. It’s easy to follow and implement. The perfect example of this is in this post: Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Quesadillas.
2. Monkey see, monkey do:
Look at what you are eating (or other grownups in the house as well). The kids will look to you for guidance. Does your plate have plenty of fresh produce on it? Do you grab an apple for a snack? Monkey see, monkey do. You are your child’s first teacher. Add at least 2 servings of fruits and veggies to every meal and snack.
3. Get the kids involved:
Let the kids into the kitchen and get them involved with planning and preparing meals and snacks. This is the perfect time to chat about where the food comes from, what real food is and how it helps your body stay healthy. Forget the mess, this is time to build healthy eating habit and make it fun!
4. Make sure healthy options are always available:
This is simply, washing the fruit and slicing it ahead of time so it’s available when the tummies start to growl. Have carrot sticks and celery, with a favourite dip, waiting when the kids get home from school. A basket of fresh fruit on the counter is quick and when the kids are hungry, they will grab for that apple, if it’s there. Fill your pantry and fridge with whole foods. Keep them visible for everyone to see and choose from.
5. They’ll eat what you give them:
Kids will eat what you give them. Meaning, if you pack your child’s lunch with a whole grain turkey wrap, carrot sticks, orange slices and milk, it will get eaten. Your child will not starve himself. If processed foods have been front and center, then it may take a while for the real food to be appreciated and enjoyed, but I guarantee it will.
By starting with these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting your kids to eat healthy food. Even if it’s new to them, keep trying and it will happen.
Here are a few examples of fun recipe ideas that you and the kids will love to make:
They are made with only real food that are loaded with fruits and vegetables.
Do you have any questions about this article, please leave them below in the comment section.