Do your children push away spinach or refuse to eat broccoli? Do they shun the fresh fruit you offer them for snacks and dessert? If you want to inspire your kids to eat healthier, it helps to make their meals and snacks as appealing as possible.
As you know from following the South Beach Diet, healthy foods, like vegetables and fruits in a rainbow of colors, can be just as tempting as junk food (and ideally more so). Start by asking your children for a list of their favorite veggies and fruits. Then make an effort to incorporate some of their picks into the daily meals that you prepare.
Do your children have a soft spot for mashed potatoes? Introduce them to the South Beach Diet version, which uses cauliflower. They’ll be surprised how good it is! Do they love after-dinner sweets? Serve them strawberries or banana pieces that they can dip in a little melted dark chocolate. Most importantly, show your kids that you practice what you preach and set a good example by enjoying healthy foods at the dining table along with them. And be sure to make a concerted effort to get any junk food out of the house. Here are six more ways to get your kids excited about fruits and vegetables:
- Don’t force your children to eat what’s on their plate. Provide them with small servings of new vegetables and fruits at first, and then reintroduce those foods regularly in various ways. Perseverance will pay off.
- Encourage your children to help with meal preparation and cooking. Studies have shown that children will readily try new foods if they have helped to prepare them. Older children can help cut up vegetables and fruits. Younger children can whisk salad dressings and toss the salad too.
- Get dipping: Kids love to dip. Serve raw veggies with a low-sugar prepared ranch dressing or hummus or with a Greek yogurt dip, such as Tzatziki.
- Let your children taste the difference between canned, frozen, or fresh veggies (don’t tell them which is which in advance), and let them choose their favorite. In many cases, canned and frozen can be as healthy as fresh.
- Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of melon slices. Kids love experimenting — and eating their experiments.
- Help kids make fruit kebabs using fresh melon chunks, berries, cherries, bananas, grapes, and kiwis.