Easy-to-Follow Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

08/05/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy of Sterling Epicure

Eating healthy is hard enough for adults.

So imagine how difficult it is to get kids out of their comfort zone of chicken fingers and fries.

According to healthy food advocate and Clean Food author Terry Walters, it’s easier than you think.

“Encouraging kids to be more adventurous eaters can be a wonderful experience for the whole family to share,” says the mom-of-two.

So what does she suggest? Click below to find out.

Make meals fun.

Wraps, burritos, tacos and summer rolls are all great ways to make eating vegetables fun. Served with their favorite toppings and dressings, you’ll be surprised at all the healthy foods your kids will gladly devour.

Eat the colors of the rainbow.

Create a contest to see who can eat the most colorful diet (Fruit Loops don’t count!), including leafy greens that don’t come in a can. It’s a fun way to learn about nutritional foods.

Get the little ones involved.

Encourage them to help with meal planning, shopping and cooking. Whether you’re at the farmers market or the grocery store, let your children pick the vegetables they’re willing to try. That way they’re more invested in the process and more likely to eat the meal.

Courtesy of Terry Walters

Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Take the tots to the farm to shop for seasonal produce that’s fresh and delicious. They’ll learn about discovering new foods and the importance of supporting your local farmer. If you live in the city, visit the farmer’s market or a local food co-op.

Grow your own vegetables.

Every little kid loves to play in the dirt, so let them get their hands dirty in your family garden or your window pots. There’s no better way to learn first hand about clean food that’s minimally processed and has maximum nutrition. Plus, they’ll be eager to taste the fruits of their labor.

Overall, children learn the most about healthy eating from what we do rather than what we say. Stocking healthy food in your refrigerator and pantry is a start. But most importantly, involve them in the process and they’ll be excited to make healthy choices.

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Jacqui on

It’s all good advice, but it is the EXACT SAME advice you ALWAYS hear about getting kids to eat right. It’s funny to me that people are still writing books and blogs and giving interviews on TV with this exact same message, letter for letter.

JM on

My almost 2 yr old is adventurous with food. I truly think it’s because since 4 months old we have been sticking to the rule of: she’s eating whatever we’re eating- mostly home cooked Asian meals with lots of chicken, fish, rice, and veggies. She still prefers the healthy stuff up to this day. This is the one thing we got right in parenting. Now if we can just get her to sleep better at night.

Holly on

“So imagine how difficult it is to get kids out of their comfort zone of chicken fingers and fries.”

Comments like those get my goat. By no means am I judging a parent, because we all make the best decisions we can with the information we’re given…

But the best way to get kids to eat more than fries and chicken fingers is to not make those foods a staple early on! My daughter does occasionally get fries, or tater tots, or chicken nuggets, but it’s less than once a month and usually during a movie night, or a sleepover. When we’re eating any other time, she eats the same things I prepare for myself and the rest of the family.

And isn’t that part of parenting? Teaching your child how to eat? And shouldn’t that start the moment they start eating foods that aren’t breastmilk?

Anna on

Agree with Holly. I don’t understand how kids can have a staple like chicken nuggets. I had my first chicken nuggets at age 12 probably and I didn’t miss anything. We ate what our parents ate.

Recently I watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and those kids were eating nuggets and pizza every day!! What kind of parents (and school!) are that?

emma on

completely agree with Jacqui and holly!

brannon on

Agree with Jacqui. I am going to write a book called ‘common sense’ and market it. You can all have a free copy to throw at the next person who makes a fortune off of telling parents chicken nuggets and french fries 7 nights a week might not be a great idea.

MiB on

Brannon, you stole my idea! 😉 I got it after being accused of that on this very page! As if having common sense was supposed to be something bad (though seeing how many people don’t seem to have it…)