Getting kids to eat healthy or to eat at all can be a daunting task. I’m lucky that my oldest daughter is one the most adventurous eaters I know. She will try anything once and usually cleans her plate at meal times. My second daughter, however, is not so adventurous. In fact she could live off chicken nuggets for the rest of her life and be quite content. Balancing these two isn’t an easy task.

After talking with other mommy friends and through trial and error, I’ve developed a few tricks and tips to keep everyone happy and healthy at our table.

Austin Moms Blog, Healthy Eating, 10 Ways for Kids to Eat Healthy

  1. Put at least one or two items on the dinner plate that you know kids will eat and enjoy. Moms and kids will feel more accomplished when they see less food on the plate then there was at the beginning of the meal. If they spy the mac and cheese they know and enjoy, kids might be more likely to try the kale chips too.
  2. Make portions reasonable. Children don’t need giant portions. In fact, try cutting their portion into a third of yours. Again, you and your child will feel more satisfied if they eat more than what they leave on the plate or if they ask for seconds!
  3. Don’t become a short order cook. Including one or two foods on the plate that you know that your child will enjoy should be enough and the other food should be whatever the rest of the family is eating. Less stress for the meal preparer and sets expectations for the future.
  4. Make one or two kid-friendly dinners during the week. We have pizza every Friday night and our girls always look forward to it. We will make homemade pizza or add fruit or veggies as pizza toppings. This way we can sneak more veggies into the meal, which leads me to….
  5. Be sneaky. I sneak greens into anything I can such as smoothies, spaghetti sauces, quesadillas, etc. Trust me, you cannot taste spinach when you mix it with fruits or vegetables. It may turn your smoothie green but you cannot taste it.
  6. Give choices, but make them count. A few of my mommy friends fill a snack basket at the beginning of each day with foods they feel comfortable with their child eating. This way there is no question about what will be eaten at snack times, but their child is still getting to pick what they want. Just remember,
  7. No big snacks before dinner. If you want your child to eat a full meal at dinner, do not give them a large snack late in the afternoon. It’s so easy to do when school-age children come home starving, but limiting what they eat in the afternoon will make dinner time go a lot smoother.
  8. No milk with dinner. Along the lines of no large snacks with dinner, it’s also better to not let your little one fill up on beverages if you want them to eat a full dinner. We usually just allow water at meal times so the girls will eat more food. We would rather they receive calories and nutrients from what is on their plate rather than from what is in their glass.
  9. Make breakfast count. Have you heard the expression, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper? I think someone with a toddler made up that expression because it’s exactly what happens in our house and I am totally okay with it. It’s also said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you can fill your child’s tummy before a day full of activities, why not?
  10. They will not starve. I remember my pediatrician telling me at my first daughter’s two-year-old well check that toddlers will live off air for most of this year. It’s okay if they miss a meal. Also, it can take 5 to 7 times for a child to be presented with a food before they will try it. If you have serious concerns, of course call your pediatrician, but also remember to breathe and try again tomorrow!

Austin Moms Blog, Healthy Eating, 10 Ways for Kids to Eat Healthy

Does your child eat nothing but Kale, Spinach, and Beets… or do you suffer from food battles as well?



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