Over a year ago, Andrew and I watched a documentary on Netflix that motivated us to introduce more fruits and vegetables into our kids daily diet.
As most kids are, they were not thrilled about eating vegetables and it lead to more than a few battles during dinner time. Before making the switch, we would feel constipated often (I say we because I wasn’t the best at eating vegetables or fruits either.)
It was easier for them to eat fruits but they weren’t eating enough fruits to compensate for the lack of fiber.
I know a lot of moms are going though this same thing.
So, after trying different things for the last 15 months and more failures than I can count. I want to share seven things that I did and that I still do to inspire our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and live a healthier life.
1. Let Them Play With Their Food
I know, one of the phrases that we repeat many times as parents is “don’t play with your food.” What I mean by letting them play with their food is to let them explore what they are eating.
You can start by making their fruits and vegetables into fun shapes by using cookie cutters. For some reason, kids enjoy eating more when they are able to touch their food and it is appealing to their eyes.
You don’t have to do this for every meal but start with the easier meals such as breakfast and lunch.
2. Educate Them
Kids are able to understand the importance of taking care of their bodies. Teach them in a way that they can understand.
There are so many YouTube videos to teach kids about what is going on inside their bodies and how what they eat affects them. Also showing them videos of other kids eating their vegetables and loving them helps too.
Here are some of them:
3. Let Them Eat What They Like
God made each one of us with unique characteristics and that includes our taste buds. Some of my kids love tomatoes and some of them not so much.
If eating fruits and vegetables is already hard, don’t make it harder by making them eat the ones that they don’t like.
Start by giving them more of what you know they love. If you know they will eat watermelons, apples, corn and green beans for sure, then give them as much as they want of those. (At least at the beginning.)
My kids and many other kids love guacamole. Here is my easy to make guacamole recipe. Mix it with anything or use it as a dip. Your kids will love it!
4. Make Fruits And Vegetables The Star Of The Meal
We have been taught that a perfectly healthy plate has protein, some fruits and vegetables and some starch. Sometimes we focus so much on the protein that everything else becomes a second thought and kids know that even if we don’t tell them.
For a while, try to make their fruits and vegetables the star of their meals.
This point takes us to number five.
5. Learn To Substitute
One way to make fruits, vegetables and other healthy things the star of their meal is by substituting their normal proteins with new types of proteins.
You can make meatless meatballs with a mixture of lentils and seeds or a chicken salad with garbanzo beans in place of the chicken. You can even make meatless tacos with everything you would put in ground beef but with a mixture of quinoa and black beans instead.
There are so many options. You don’t have to do this every time but doing this will help them to learn to eat (and enjoy) more of what is better for them in a way they like.
It will also help their palates get used to the flavor of new fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes and grains that you might want to introduce to them.
6. Set The Example
Making these changes wasn’t only hard for my kids. It was hard for Andrew and I also.
I didn’t want to feed my kids their vegetables in secret. I wanted them to learn to eat them and ask for them but I needed to be the example by eating them first and trying new things.
By taking care of our bodies we are showing our kids the importance of respecting God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20.) Here are also other ideas for Self-care as a mom!
7. Be Patient And Keep Trying
I have been steadily making these changes for a long time now. There were many moments when I wanted to give up and not think about what they were eating anymore. Let’s be honest, its just easier.
Then one day, they would snack on carrots and bell peppers without me prompting them to and I would feel motivated to keep going.
We still occasionaly make brownies and cookies for our family nights, although we substitute some ingredients.
Changing our eating habits hasn’t been easy and our kids still some times don’t want to eat everything I make but the struggle is far less burdensome now.
Just keep at it, keep trying and expirimenting and failing and trying again.
Let me know if you would like more tips or if you have questions about what I do with my kids 🙂