Remember when you were a kid? No food was better than the sugary, fatty, salty ones. And heck, maybe those are still the foods you crave as an adult. It’s human biology at work. We crave those flavors in order to survive, but in a culture where fast food is often easier than a healthy, home-cooked meal, those survival compounds are in abundance and lead to adverse health effects. If you want your kids to ask for a healthy snack instead, here are a few tips.
Expose them to healthy foods from the start
It’s never too late to get your family on the healthy eating track, but exposing children to healthy, nutrient-rich foods in their earliest years is the best way to establish healthy eating habits in the future. Just like when adults begin a healthy eating lifestyle and begin to crave salad over burgers, children develop comfortable eating habits. If you’ve exposed them to delicious raw fruit rather than fatty, salty pizza, odds are they’re going to crave what they’re used to eating.
Go shopping at a local farmer’s market together
Make grocery shopping a fun and co-operative activity. Instead of going to the grocery store, where fatty, processed foods are in abundance, head to a local farmer’s market to stock up on healthy fruits and veggies. Have your child help pick out their favorite foods at the market and head home to prepare them for a healthy snack or meal. It’s a bonding experience, too.
Fruit as the new treat
It’s a little bit of trickery that will lead to a healthy lifestyle in the future. Reward children with delicious, sweet fruits instead of ice cream or other processed, sugary foods. Try dipping bananas in melted dark chocolate and freezing them on a stick. It’s an ice cream-like treat, but it’s also quite healthy and refreshing during those hot summer months.
Repackage healthy foods
Become a marketing expert in your own home. Brightly colored packaging and unique displays draw children to junk food in grocery stores. Try the same thing in your home. Have children decorate plastic sandwich bags and package healthy nuts and mixes in them. They’ll be instantly drawn to something they’ve taken part in, but they’ll also love the bright colors and fun attitude associated with the food.
Give them exclusively healthy options
Children love having the right to choose, so when they’re forced to eat a healthy meal without any choice in the matter, they’re likely not going to enjoy it. Give your child three or more healthy breakfast options to choose from in the morning. They’ll feel like they had the final decision and you’ll have a child packed with healthy energy and vitamins to get through the day.