As a parent I struggle to get my kids to eat healthy. I am sure most parents fight the same battle. You can't walk into a store without being bombarded with sugary treats oozing from every aisle. Even health food stores carry ample sweets to tempt. The last time we went to Sprouts the kids were allowed to get a snack....without chocolate in it. Must every snack have chocolate in it? But I have been able to come up with a few tricks to get my kids to eat healthier, aside from just educating them about why its so important to eat healthy (be honest, unless you eat healthy 100% of the time even you know better and still don't).
1. Keep celery and carrot sticks in the fridge cut up and ready to eat. Offer this as a snack when they are hungry. For us that means buying the big bags at costco and cutting it all up when we get home. If you leave them whole kids are less likely to help themselves. If they are cut up even the little ones can get in there for a snack.
2. For dessert try yogurt with berries instead of prepackaged or loaded with sugar treats. Buy the big containers so you can dip your own fruit in them. Apple and pear slices, grapes, black berries, raspberries, etc all make a sweet treat.
3. Offer more vegetable choices at the dinner table. The more kids you have the less likely everyone is to like the same thing. If you have leftovers save them for the next days meal. I am not one of those, eat whats served to you or eat nothing type of mothers. I would rather give them choices and watch them eat healthy foods than give them no choice and watch them not eat at all. So if you are sitting down for a meal and are serving asparagus and baked potato, offer some peas or brussel sprouts in addition. I have found that if I give my kids the choice, they would choose to eat a vegetable, just not the one I would have chosen.
4. When buying lettuce choose dark green heads as opposed to the lighter Iceberg. Even if your kids will only eat the Iceberg buy the other heads as well and mix them in. The darker the leaves generally the healthier they are. My kids don't even realize that little lettuce leaves I put on their sandwiches are adding a bunch of vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. And that vegetable alternative for dinner can be a salad of romaine.
5. If you are planning on being out of the house for any length of time bring snacks. I don't know how many time we have gone out after lunch and planned to be home for dinner where we had to stop for a snack in between because everyone got hungry. Keep some nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, Trio Bars, or Terra Chips on hand in the van just for such occasions. Also saves you money over having to grab something while you are out. Keep this in mind if you are doing anything remotely aerobic. We went to play in the snow recently for only an hour and by the end everyone, including myself, were starving. Of course of all times I was out of snacks. My 5 yr old scolded me, I think he was about to wilt away to nothing.
Now if someone has 5 tips to get my kids to exercise that would be great! Thats my latest challenge.