Saturday, 24 January 2015

Healthy Kids: Tips and tricks for getting kids to eat healthy!

I'm not sure if I should call this post general, healthy eating tips for kids or specifically 'paleo' kids. To be honest, my husband and I already knew from the beginning our son's eating adventures that we wanted our home to be a healthy one

Healthy Kids: Tips and tricks for getting kids to eat healthy! {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo, #paleokids, #healthykidrecipes

As our son has gotten older (he's two and a half now), I've really enjoyed exposing him to new foods and learning what he prefers to eat. 

I have also frequently received comments from strangers and family alike regarding my son's eating habits, such as: 

What's he eating? Is that raw broccoli? 

-He actually likes broccoli? 
-Is that an orange potato? Why is it orange? Oh, it's a sweet potato. 
-He doesn't have to drink water. We have x, y, z, fizzy drink for kids at this restaurant, too. 
-Does he want pie? How about cake? No, are you sure? He doesn't have to eat that banana. 

etc, etc, etc. 

The interesting thing with my son, and those aforementioned incidents, just to name a few, is that he chooses to eat those foods. Yes, he adores raw broccoli. It's his favourite snack at the moment. And the kid will always go for a banana over any other food ever

Healthy Kids: Tips and tricks for getting kids to eat healthy! {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo, #paleokids, #healthykidrecipes

So! To learn how we managed to get our toddler to love his vegetables, read on: 

Start early one of the best pieces of advice I can give is really to start with healthy eating habits from the start. At 2.5, my son never has had soda, assorted deep fried snacks, and candy. Yes, he has never had candy.

Healthy alternatives That being said, I do give him healthy alternatives all the time. Homemade muffins, pizzas, french fries (sweet potato or butternut squash fries, and more. I make healthy alternatives to 'junk food' in large batches and freeze the extras. That way, I save time for myself, while giving my son healthy alternatives.  

Get them involved I always take my son grocery shopping with me. This seems boring and a hassle, but here's the important bit: I let him choose a few vegetables and fruits that he wants to eat. 

Healthy Kids: Tips and tricks for getting kids to eat healthy! {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo, #paleokids, #healthykidrecipes

I like to let him choose his snacks out of a limited amount of options: fruits, veg, or nuts. Because we also have a more Montessori style set up at home, Mr. Toddler is free to walk to the fridge, cupboard, or fruit bowl and grab a snack for himself. Lately, it's been broccoli or cashews. Before then, it was bananas and mandarins. Again, easy access and choice are the important bits here. 

Keep healthy foods around make sure that there are plenty of snacks, and healthy alternatives around in case you're in a pinch. 

Your kids are still kids My son is a toddler, not an adult, and I want to create a healthy relationship with food. I hope that he will be able to make good food choices as an adult, keep a healthy lifestyle, etc. For now, I want to teach him that healthy food is tasty. Make sure to keep talks about food and healthy eating light and fun! 

Don't cook alternatives This seems mean, but if my son doesn't want to eat what we're eating, he's out of luck. Here's the reason why it's not mean though: he gets choice on his plate. I almost never give him one food on his plate, but I am not going to cook an alternative meal for him. He can leave the beets on his plate if he doesn't like them (after trying one bite), but then there are also sweet potatoes and chicken that will normally be devoured. 

This is more a practical bit for parents, but if you have 3 kids, all wanting 3 different meals - it's too much. 

Healthy Kids: Tips and tricks for getting kids to eat healthy! {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo, #paleokids, #healthykidrecipes

I've learned with my son, the days he refuses to eat what I have prepared for dinner, are the days he's full, has a tummy ache, or generally isn't feeling well. He almost always wants to eat exactly what it is that mommy and daddy are eating. As in literally from our plates. 

Model behaviour now, don't go into the pantry to hide from your kids and eat all of the chocolate bars. If you want your kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle, I really think that it is important to adopt it yourself, too. Get rid of the unhealthy foods so that you don't have the temptation yourself. I know, it's hard, but really, it's not good for yourself to start snacking on all of the chocolate bars and crisps that you've been hiding from the kids all day. 

Stay persistent keep offering new foods to your kids, even if they don't try it. My son has refused to eat beets for quite some time. Every time we are going to have beets with dinner (usually as a side), I make sure that I also plan to have another dish that he will eat prepared with our dinner. I give him a few small pieces of beets though, just in case he does try them. 

Stay calm I don't force any food on Mr. Toddler, yell at him, or make a big deal out of the beets or whatever else it is that I want him to eat. I simply present a full plate, filled with variety and let him choose what he eats from it. I make sure that all of the options on his plate are ones that I want him to be eating, and calmly explain what each item is. He then chooses what he wants. Sometimes he will try something new, sometimes not. 

Looking for more? 

Checkout my Whole 30 Survival Guide
Visit my Munchkin Meals page for toddler meal ideas
Checkout my paleo recipes page

More inspiration and resources? 

Checkout my Whole 30 friendly pinterest board! 

Checkout my Paleo Recipes pinterest board! 

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