Between the ready availability of sweets and treats, commercials for sugary cereals during your kids’ must-watch shows, and picky eaters who turn their nose up at every green vegetable, it may seem like getting your child to eat healthy is a battle you are destined to lose. But don’t worry — there’s hope! Here are a few tips to help encourage your child to adopt healthy eating habits.
1. Be a role model. Your child looks to you for guidance, which means they are also aware of every morsel you put in your mouth. They notice when you consistently forgo salad for a burger or indulge in sweets before a meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that parents show, rather than tell, their kids how to eat right.
2. Keep healthy options on hand. Kids tend to go for foods that are readily available. WebMD suggests having a bowl of fruit within easy reach. You can also create snack bags of washed and cut-up vegetables, such as peppers, carrots and celery, and leave them on the lowest fridge shelf for easy-to-reach snacks.
3. Mix it up. Some foods, especially vegetables, can be an acquired taste. It may take multiple tries before your kid is even willing to try a bit. The USDA recommends having multiple types of veggies on hand and buying your produce when in season. Then, mix things up! Offer your child different colorful veggie options and encourage them to keep trying, allowing them to develop a taste for healthier foods.