Have picky kids that seem to turn their nose up at anything that resembles a healthy food? If they prefer hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, candy, and soda to broccoli, chicken, apples, and milk, you may feel like you're losing the game of raising a healthy child.
First, stop blaming yourself. It's very rare to find a parent who has a child who eats like an angel, taking in whatever healthy items are put in front of them.
But, with a few wise tricks up your sleeve, you can convince them to start giving healthy food a try.
Never serve food plain
When it comes to serving up healthy food, one of the most important things that you can do is ensure you always serve the food jazzed up.
Don't serve regular sliced fruit or vegetables. Liven it up with a healthy flavored dip.
Likewise, don't expect them to eat plain brown rice. Prepare it using low sodium chicken broth and fresh herbs, or whip up a healthy cheese sauce using lower fat cheese and skim milk.
Enhancing the taste of healthy food goes a long way toward encouraging them to eat it.
Incorporate them in the process
Another smart move? Get them involved. If your kids are old enough to help with any element of the meal preparation process, make sure you include them. This will have them feeling more excited to dive in to whatever is being served for dinner.
When they've had a part in creating it, they'll be far more likely to want to actually try it.
Make it easy
It's also essential that you make sure eating healthy is easy for your kids. Keep cut-up vegetables and fruit in the fridge right at arm's reach. Likewise, rather than keeping chips in the house for instance, keep popcorn on hand or small baggies of nuts.
Then when they reach for a quick snack, it won't be unhealthy but convenient items they reach for.
Demonstrate good behavior
If you want your kids to eat healthy, it's a must that you model good behavior as well. Ensure that you are eating the foods you should be as well. If they see you eating unhealthy choices, you can't expect them to do the opposite.
Especially at a young age, this is critical.
Blend it up
Finally, if you've tried all the tricks in the book and they still won't eat their vegetables, consider actually blending them right up into the sauce. If preparing a tomato sauce for instance, you can easily blend in carrots, onions, mushrooms, and celery. It'll get the nutrients in and they won't even notice them.
Shannon Clark has a degree in Exercise Science and is an AFLCA certified personal trainer. She has written on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition for the last 9 years. Her insights are regularly published on bodybuilding.com, askmen.com and FitRated.com. FitRated is a leading fitness equipment review site offering fitness insights on equipment, workout plans and weight loss strategies.