I posted a picture of the lunch I made the other day on instagram. It was a very simple meal. See pic below. I received a few comments that got me thinking. People are amazed that my kids eat this way or they wished their kids would eat something similar.
Veggie Sandwich (avocados, hummus, spicy mustard, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, toasted whole grain bread)
Strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, baby tomatoes
We have written posts on here about helping kids make healthier choices or way to get them on board, but what it really comes down to for me is this: I am in charge! I know for some that may seem too simple or maybe too harsh. And believe me, I know that doesn't work on all children. The reality is I am buying the groceries so I am the one making the choice for them on what they can and will eat. I also have to be willing to eat the same way I expect them to eat.
Meal time at my house usually sounds like this, "what's for dinner?" I reply explaining what I am making. Most of the time I get a positive response from a few of my kids, but we have our fair share of "why?" Or "We had that last week" maybe even a pouty "Do I have to eat it?". To all of these responses I will say something along the lines of explaining what is in the meal and asking them to pitch in with part of the cooking process (which they LOVE), and then on days where that doesn't work. I will remind them we do not have whining or complaining about food at our table and my kids know it. It is not something new. I tell them we eat and are grateful to have food on our table, even if its not our favorite food. They know I am not backing down. Some nights we play the numbers game, 3 pieces of steamed broccoli or 10 big bites of your meal. Eat as many bites as your current age. There are little tricks here and there that I will use to help them along, but my kids know that I am in charge and I am not going to let them complain until they get to make something else. I had the opportunity to spend several months in a third world country when I was younger, I know what starving looks like. I have seen kids more than grateful for one meal a day. I have a hard time seeing my own children complain about a healthy home cooked meal made with love. So my approach has very little room for compromise and my kids have been raised that way. They have some liberties to swap this veggie for that one, or pick their fave toppings for the salad. When all is said and done, I am the boss! I am the one who is responsible for these little people and helping them to grow up happy, healthy, and grateful.
I am not saying this is how everyone needs to do it! I know that when first starting out on this path, it is so hard to get kids to appreciate any new food. Be patient with them and yourself. Baby steps, but set some rules and stick to them. (one bite of each new food, or only add one new veggie a week and make it each night. Those little taste buds will soon appreciate the new flavors).
How do you get your kids to eat healthy??