Thursday, March 11, 2010

Raising kids to be healthy eaters

So, I am in no way an expert on this subject! I have so much to learn! But, I had a few people ask about how I get my kids to eat fruits and veggies so I thought I would share the few things I have learned and hope that everyone will share their wisdom with me!

One of my goals with my kids was to make healthy eating easy for them. It does not come easy to me so I would love if they entered adulthood enjoying the foods that are good for them. I HATE drinking water and veggies outside of salads are kind of a struggle for me. But, I feel like my kids are already way ahead of me on both of these things!

Basically, the way I got them to this point was pretty easy because they are so little. So, the main things I do that I think have made the biggest impact have been...

- Snacks around here are pretty much always either fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, or cheese. Unless we are out and about nutritional zeros like crackers, fruit snacks, and other carbs are just not an option. Since if my kids are eating a snack they are usually pretty hungry they will usually eat whatever I put in front of them.

- When we use the word "special treat" around here it is usually fruits or vegetables or something healthy like a smoothie or celery and peanut butter. Since they are little and gullable they get really excited and eat it all up. Desert around here a lot of nights is a cut up apple we all share. They get so excited.

- I try to make the real "treats" not a big deal. They do get ice-cream or cookies sometimes but I don't really make a big deal about them. So, they don't get as excited about them. (It is all about mind control... haha! That sounds so terrible!)

- For the most part, water is the only beverage option around here. I offer them milk at about 2 meals during the day but the rest of the time it is water. Especially in between meals. I used to give them juice or milk for snacks but I found that it made them less hungry for meals and then much more picky about what they eat. And it is awesome! After several months they are the best water drinkers! We had a little leftover orange juice (which used to be Max's all-time favorite drink of choice) so I offered it to Max for breakfast. He said "yes" but I put his water on the table too. He didn't touch the juice and gulped down the water.

So, I guess my biggest tips are to offer what you want them to eat and get excited about the healthy stuff. I discovered that they really won't let themselves starve... although I thought they might a few days into it! Now if I could just be as disciplined with myself!!

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