How to get your kid to eat healthy
Ain’t that the question of the day?
I recently had a few people ask me about how I get my kids to eat the healthy food that I eat. Usually I just answer them with, “I just make them eat it.” But, even though that is my usual sentiment, It is sometimes hard to explain just HOW I go about doing that.
So, this is the topic of Talk Tuesday.
(My kids breakfast yesterday. Yes, those are sugar sprinkles 😉
Now, if you were to ask me if I was 100% THM, I would say no. Although my family and I eat the THM way about 90% of the time, there are certain foods that our kids can have that is perfectly ok. Kids have such a higher metabolism than we do, and are able to process and metabolize foods that we as “old foggies” cannot.
Ok….dont get me wrong though…Does that mean that we allow our kids to eat whatever they want? To eat sugar, unhealthy carbs and processed foods all the time? HECKLES NO!
Here’s a quote from a very wise woman (one of my mentors), that has impacted me so much in my parenting journey…
“More is CAUGHT by your kids, than is TAUGHT by you…”
This is so true when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthy. If you don’t eat healthy, and show them what it means to be healthy, then why do you expect your kids to eat or be healthy??? It’s just common sense to me.
(My boys! They love steamed artichoke!)
There is a time and a place
Although eating healthy foods should be a priority for us as parents, I am a strong believer in enjoying food! I love food, and I especially love yummy american food! Sometimes it is a good cinnamon roll, a good ole’ fashioned cheeseburger or a slice of pizza!
There is a time and place for those foods. I love when we are on vacation, that we allow ourselves to enjoy some of these foods. Also, when I am on a date with my husband, sometimes we will indulge and eat some bread and dessert! I just want to make this clear…THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!
Food freedom is just that…freedom! If you become so strict with eating only a certain way, or never allowing sugar in your home…I think that can be dangerous. It’s ok to allow your kids a treat now and then. Now, this is just my lowly opinion. You have to do what is best for your family, and you have stick to your convictions.
Do I let my kids have candy every Sunday at church? Usually. Do they enjoy their Sunday candy? Yes, they do! Do I put sprinkles on their oatmeal? Yes, I do. Do they love it? Yes, they do. Do I often give them bread or biscuits when we are eating a low carb dinner? Yes, I do. Do they love bread? Of course….they take after their mama!
You see….there is a time and place for healthy food. The majority of our meals need to be healthy, and nutritious. But, when you have the ability to create happy memories, eating a good donut with your kids, then you should do it!!! All power to you ;).
Kids non-ability to function with sugar
I see such a difference with my kids when I feed them healthy. When I make oatmeal, eggs and Ezekiel bread toast, or healthy pancakes with homemade berry sauce. I notice the difference. When they have occasional sugar cereal for breakfast, they can barely focus on their school! I can only imagine why kids don’t have the ability to function in public schools, when all they are being fed is sugar and starchy carbs? Why do so many kids get labeled ADD, or other labels? Of course there are kids that do have legit problems that they can’t help, but I am curious how many of those things are heavily contributed to by what they eat.
“A recent study on sugar consumption suggested that higher consumption of sugar is positively correlated with a higher level of hyperactivity and attention deficiency similar to ADHD” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133757/
Workin’ Mama’s…MY HEROES
Now, there are many women that I admire so much, because they are single moms who have to work. They work their butts off to provide for their kids, and they work hard at providing healthy meals for their kids! THESE WOMEN ARE MY HEROES! I don’t know how they do it!
There are always those situations that are super hard to be intentional about feeding your kids healthfully. I understand that, and I know it is hard. It’s hard for me sometimes as well, and I have help!!! I know there are times when you are just too tired, or not able to buy healthy foods. That’s where you have to get creative.
All these different circumstances call for creativity!
4 tips on how to “make” your kids eat healthy:
- Be consistent. If I tell my kids to eat their food, and then the next day tell them they don’t have to, they probably won’t eat their food the day after. Be consistent in making them follow through and obey. Remember, they are YOUR kids. They work around YOUR schedule, not the other way around.
- Be an example. If you are not eating healthy, don’t expect them to. If you don’t finish your meals, have manners at the table or do what’s right…don’t expect them to!
- Be intentional. It’s hard work trying to get our kids to eat healthy…at first. I know for me, it took a couple of years before I started realizing that I needed to really focus on what my kids were eating, how much nutrition they were getting, and working hard at INTENTIONALLY disciplining them when they decided that they didn’t want to eat a certain food. Just this morning I sat with my daughter for 30 minutes, making her pick up her spoon and eat. She tried to refuse over and over again, but in the end…she obeyed. And she ate her breakfast ;).
- Encourage them. When they do eat healthy food, make sure to praise and encourage them! They will start to pick up that you are proud of them making the healthy choices, and it will really help them to see that it’s good for them.
There you have it! These are some of the ways that my husband and I are intentional about feeding our kids in a healthy way.
Our personal way
- We always make them finish their plate.That’s a big deal for us. We have a strong conviction of not wasting what God has provided for us. We also tell them that “there are starving kids all over the world who would give anything to eat the way they do!”, which is true and needs to be taught.
- They need to learn to obey in the small things, like eating. Obedience needs to start at a young age. I think for our kids, the age of 2 was when they starting “knowing” what they were doing when they disobeyed. Finishing a meal can become a fight, unless there is consistency.
- My husband has always said, “They will eat it if they’re hungry enough!” Although this saying of his is kind of sarcastic in nature, it rings a bell for me, because I do see some of those kids around the world who are less fortunate, and it breaks my heart! That’s why I agree with his statement.
- Our kids eat what I make. End of subject. I refuse to make a “special meal” for them because they might not like a certain kind of vegetable or whatever. If they don’t want to eat it…they’re just not hungry enough.
Note: My kids usually love what I cook, and they usually eat it right up! It wasn’t always this way, when our first son was young. There was a lot of “trial and error” that we experienced. We have come a long way in our parenting, particularly at meal times. 🙂
These tips and tricks of ours work for us. But, in the end, you have to find what works for your family. However that looks like, I encourage you to choose healthy food!
My daughter loves my sugar-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies (see Sweets and Treats page)!
I pray that this Talk Tuesday was encouraging to you! Hit me up and let me know some topics that you would like to see me cover! Thanks!