How to Encourage Your Kids to Eat Healthy


Before I had children, I vowed my children would only eat organic, non-processed foods. No way would I feed my children chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese. Ha! Twelve years into this parenting thing, and my children have had more than their fair share of processed and fast food. I have also learned that my children are much more responsive to change when it is presented in a fun way as opposed to me lecturing and demanding them to make a change.

While I have become much more realistic with my expectations for what my children will eat, I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The demands of school and sports require a lot of energy from young people today. As parents, we want to give our kids all the tools they need to be successful and a healthy body is one of the most important tools they have. 

Tips for Getting your Children to Make Healthier Food Choices

  1. Model healthy food choices. Our kids are always watching us. If they see you making healthy food choices, they are more likely to make better choices with their food.
  2. Teach them to notice how they feel when they eat certain foods. If they go to a birthday party and eat tons of sugar, help them realize how certain foods make them feel. Try your hardest not to add judgment, just help them notice.
  3. When they get home from school or practice, have a plate of cut veggies waiting for them on the counter. Most likely they will be ravenous and will eat anything you put in front of them at this point. They will devour the vegetables without even realizing they are eating something good for them.
  4. Involve them in the cooking and grocery shopping process. Get their input when it comes to deciding what to eat. Have them go to the grocery store with you and let them pick out new fruits or vegetables to try. This requires some patience on the parents’ part but it helps the kids feel like they have a voice when it comes to what the family eats.
  5. Make healthier swaps. Homemade pizza tastes way better and is better for you than anything you can have delivered to your house. A quick search on Pinterest will lead you to 100s of healthier versions of your favorite recipes. The aisles of the grocery store have more healthy options than ever before. A couple of brands I really like are Siete (chips, Mexican food), Simple Mills (baking mixes), and Hu (chocolate).

Healthy eating and movement go hand in hand, so while you are making healthy food choices it is a perfect time to add more movement into your life. My family’s favorite way to get more exercise is to walk our dogs. My kids don’t always want to go for a walk but they love our two dogs so I can get them out the door if the dogs are involved.

We also love to hike. Living in Colorado gives us the luxury of beautiful weather and hikes year round. Another way to get your family moving is to include some friendly competition in the form of pickleball, mini golf, or tag. The extra bonus of being more active: tiring your kids out will give them less energy to argue with their siblings!

The weather is finally starting to warm up and farmer’s market season is right around the corner. This is the perfect time of year to start some new healthy habits. Have fun with it! If you are relaxed and excited about making healthy changes, your kids will be, too.


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