How to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

Eric Kelly is a graphic designer by trade and has always been an adventurer at heart. He is a single dad who lives in Los Angeles with his 3 year old son, Gus. He created Dadventures to share tips, advise and resources he continues to pick up along his parenting journey. He has shared this wonderful piece with us.

If you have a difficult time getting the kids to eat healthy, remember that the habits they develop when young may affect them for the rest of their lives. If their habits are healthy, that’s great! But if they’re not, then those unhealthy habits may be harder to break. Here, we present some healthy habits you can begin implementing in your home.

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Good Habits Start Young
What we eat plays a huge role in not only our physical health but also our mental health. It can affect our stress, depression, and anxiety levels, as well as our overall happiness. This is even truer in children, where a healthy diet improves growth and development.

According to The Cleveland Clinic, it’s never too soon to start teaching kids good eating habits.The earlier you start introducing your kids to healthy eating habits, the more likely they will stick with them. Introducing your two-year-old to fresh vegetables can lead to a lifetime of them asking for second helpings of broccoli.
Keep Healthy Snacks Available
Spending more time around the house tends to lead to more snacking. That is perfectly okay, especially if your child is able to get snacks themselves. If you’re worried about them snacking on greasy chips or sugary treats, simply don’t stock them in the house, or else store them in hard to reach places. Instead, keep a wide variety of healthy options easily accessible for them.

If you have small kids, be sure to pre-cut any fruits and veggies for them. The easier it is for them to get the snack on their own, the more likely they will reach for it. Carrot sticks and hummus or pre-cut pieces of seasonal fruit, like watermelon, are great go-to snacks. Or if they’re looking to stay cool, try freezing bananas and turning them into pops.
Take Them Grocery Shopping
One of the best ways to get your kids eating healthy and trying new foods is to let them help with meal planning. This doesn’t mean you let them have free rein at the grocery store. Instead, provide them with 2-3 options to choose from. When kids get to have a say in what’s for dinner, they have a greater chance of eating it.

Veg Kitchen recommends heading to the local farmers market together. This is a great way for your kid to discover whatever new fruits and vegetables are in season. You can also use this as an opportunity to teach them about how things are grown. Don’t be afraid to engage with the vendors and encourage your kid to ask questions.
From Farmers Market to Being the Farmer
While a farmers market is a good way to get locally grown and organic produce, you might be discouraged from eating organic by the prices at the grocery store. One way to get the organic produce without the added expense is to grow it yourself. Kids are more likely to try new foods that came right out of your garden – especially if they help grow them – and the fresh-picked taste is sure to win them over.
Get Them Cooking
When we eat out, we know very little about the food other than it tastes good. Many people see eating out as a form of entertainment, or as a reward at the end of a week of hard work. As long as it’s not a chore, preparing food and eating a special meal at home can be a lot of fun too. Get some good music in the kitchen and delegate the chopping and stirring. One way to mix it up and try new recipes is with a meal kit delivery service. Everything you need is delivered to your door with meat-free and vegan options available. Your kids will learn cooking tips they can take with them for the rest of their lives.

If your kitchen is a bit out of date, consider upgrading the space to make it more conducive to family cooking. But be strategic about the types of updates you make. Start with family-friendly options, like a child proof knife drawer or an anti-scald device. Then, look at what home buyers in your area are looking for in regards to kitchen upgrades, and focus on those elements. That way, when you eventually go to sell your home, you will be able to see rewards beyond the additional family time you spent together cooking.
Start Taking Healthy Steps at Home
A healthy lifestyle starts with developing good habits and then that way of living just becomes a part of who you are. Healthier snacking is a good way to get started. So fill your pantry with healthy and quick food options to get your family off on the right foot. Then, get everyone involved in meal prep and planning and consider upgrading your kitchen. You might be surprised by how invested your family gets in making delicious meals for everyone.

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