According to the United States Department of Agriculture, children between the ages of two and six should have at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables each day. If your kids are anything like mine, you’re lucky if you get them to eat one per day! With more and more processed foods becoming more affordable than fruits and vegetables, it’s no wonder our cabinets and drawers are full of cheap, quick-grab snacks that aren’t always the healthiest. Kids are drawn to the bright colorful packages, the fun characters, and the artificial flavors! Parents are drawn to the options that stay freshest and longest and that are better for our wallets. So, what can we do to bring back healthier foods into our families’ diets? 

  1. Lead by example. Children are very impressionable, and they look up to their parents and loved ones. They mimic you and follow your lead. So, the easiest thing we can do is to keep fruits and vegetables stocked and let them see us reaching for those healthy snacks. When you are hungry, grab some baby carrots or an apple. Let your kiddos see you first reach for fruits and veggies instead of grabbing those processed snacks. They might just start to copy you. 
  1. You might be reading number one and saying to yourself, “That’s all well and good if you have a child who will actually eat fruits and veggies. What can I do to get my child to even consider trying a fruit or vegetable?” I know how you feel, friends. This is such a difficult place to be in because you don’t want to force your child to eat things causing them emotional harm or possibly causing food issues for them in the future. However, you do want them to make healthy choices. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to start small. First, make sure your child is comfortable with the food in question sitting on their plates. Once they can handle the food being on their plate, have them smell the food or even lick it. Once they pass this hurdle, have them try the food. Make sure you have your child try this food several times over several days and weeks before ruling it as a food they don’t like.
  1. What else can I do to make my child want to eat more fruits and vegetables? A surprising answer to this question and one that is all kinds of fun is, to have your child play with their food! You read that right, allow your child to play with their food. Have them make their own smiley face pizza using veggies for the facial features or have them decorate their waffles with fruit. Give them different cookie cutters and have them make their watermelon into fun shapes and characters! Get creative. 
  1. “I have tried steps one through three and we are still getting nowhere, now what?” When all else fails, it’s time to be creative and find ways to mask fruits and vegetables in some of our children’s favorite foods. Does your kiddo love spaghetti? Awesome, blend some cooked veggies into the spaghetti sauce and then serve it. Does your kiddo like smoothies or milkshakes? Great, make them a homemade milkshake using real strawberries, bananas, chocolate, and ice. Not interested in cooking? Run over to your nearest Kroger and grab yourself some veggie chicken nuggets. Many different brands of nuggets now offer veggies added to their products. Are your kiddos carb lovers? Grab some cauliflower Kraft Mac & Cheese. There are so many different options to help make our lives as parents a little easier. 

If you are interested in learning more ways to help your kiddos eat healthier, check out this Instagram account here

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About the Author: Charlotte Balavitch
Charlotte Balavitch is a busy mom of three little ones ages 6, 4 and 2. She is married to her high school sweetheart Andrew and together they live in downriver, Michigan. Charlotte is the owner and photographer at Don’t Blink Photography and is also a homeschool mom. Before having children, Charlotte received her teaching degree and taught elementary.

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