Teach kids to eat well in a fun way
Getting kids to eat well can be an uphill battle, made significantly more difficult with the increasing number of convenient, delicious, albeit wildly unhealthy options available to them. In order to help reverse this trend, we need to be able to provide our kids with the tools to make positive choices around their food, while making the learning experiences fun and engaging!
Engage Kids in Cooking
Cooking is one of the best ways to get kids excited about food and making healthier choices! I was fortunate to be invited into the kitchen at a very young age and I’m grateful every day that my parents did that, because it has had a profound and lasting impact on my life. Cooking is a life skill- and the earlier we can get our kids exploring food and how to prepare it, the better! Having the skills and confidence to handle themselves in the kitchen not only helps kids establish healthy eating habits for life, but also gives them the tools to be healthy independent adults. And it gives us a chance to role model in the kitchen! It can be difficult to find activities that are age appropriate, cost effective, and inclusive for the whole family, but learning how to prepare food can be a great way to connect with your kids and spend some time together. Perhaps most importantly, teaching our children about cooking gives significant insight into what goes into the food we love to eat.
Gardening or Growing your own food
Want to take it one step further? Start a garden at your house or in your community! This is perhaps the most direct way to help kids understand where their food comes from, and the energy and time it takes to grow it! No better way to connect to our food and what we put in our bodies than by growing it ourselves. Starting a garden, or even growing an herb plant, can also shift how our kids TASTE their food! How does fresh food taste different than frozen or mass produced food? And more importantly, are the foods we buy from the store as nutritious as those grown without pesticides or other harmful chemicals? It’s a great opportunity to teach kids about how what we put in our food directly impacts our health- what we eat can either fuel or harm our bodies!
Sneaky foods that have healthy ingredients!
I have found the easiest way to get kids excited about eating healthy food, is to disguise it! Sounds a little deceptive, but if we can swap out a few ingredients in our kids’ favourite food without sacrificing taste then everyone wins! Simple tricks like blending sweet potato or carrot into macaroni and cheese, making “green monster” smoothies that taste like fruit but are really packed with veggies, or even hiding vegetables in desserts can ensure that our kids are getting all the nutrition they need! I don’t want to discourage sweets, and here’s why- KIDS LOVE SWEETS! In fact, everyone has a bit of a sweet tooth, and it’s silly to suggest a little something sweet every once in a while isn’t healthy. Health is about balance, not restriction! It’s ok to have sweets! They can be fun to make and delicious to eat, but we can make some choices that benefit our bodies more than others. Plus, it’s always fun to create something healthy that doesn’t taste like it!
This Black Bean Brownie recipe is definitely worth a try:
Have any great ideas to help kids get excited about healthy eating? Share them with us on Social! Head to our platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and use the hashtag #fueledbyBOKS to show us how you’re teaching kids to eat well in a fun way!
Regional Coordinator, Western Canada, BOKS Canada