We think it’s safe to say that when it comes to healthy eating, almost every parent out there has faced some resistance from their kids. Moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers have begged, bribed, tricked and flat out TOLD kids to eat healthier foods like vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
It’s no easy task! Quite frankly, it would be easier to let them feast on junk food, but no one ever said parenting was easy. The goal is to make it out with your sanity intact and a healthy, happy child turned grown-up.
Our partner, Catherine Katz of Cuisinicity, has “been there, done that.” With five children, years spent working as a neuroscientist and a husband who’s a nutrition expert and often in the spotlight, Catherine has had plenty of experience juggling the demands of family life while trying to make health a priority. It hasn’t always been easy, but over the years she’s developed something of a game plan that she is always happy to share with families facing the same mealtime struggles.
It won’t happen overnight, but incorporating these tips and recipes, a product of Catherine’s own trial and error, can help move you towards healthier, happier meals as a family:
- There is no point in forcing your kids to eat their veggies and fruit out right. Save yourself the aggravation of making an issue out of food with them. In unity, there is strength! Just make veggies an ever-present part of YOUR daily dinner and have fresh and dried fruit easily accessible in your household, and your kids will come around eventually.
- Know how to trade up for better nutrition for every box, can, bottle or jar on the supermarket shelf. You can do this slowly and progressively, one box of cereal, crackers, chips or cookies at a time.
- Don’t make perfection the enemy of good, and be patient with yourself (and your kid) as you begin making healthier choices and adapt to changing tastes.
- Let’s be honest: kids don’t like fancy-schmancy food (what I call “tra-la-la” in French!). They like what they know. They love what they are most familiar with: cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, cookies, rice crispy treats and so on. Eventually, of course, when their taste adapts to a more wholesome diet, the options are limitless, but first I recommend working with what we know they love now!
Find more recipes and tips from Catherine Katz on Cuisinicity.
Healthier choices shouldn’t be reserved just for home. Treat your family to a meal out at a participating Healthy Dining and Kids LiveWell restaurant serving dietitian-recommended menu choices made with fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains.