How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy While at Home

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 Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthy

There is not a better time to teach our kids more about health and nutrition. Right now learning healthy habits is of the utmost importance. Keeping our kids healthy is important. And health starts with learning how to get your kids to eat healthy.
There is a lot of things we don’t have control of. What we eat is not one of them. You have complete control of how healthy you eat, and thus how healthy your kids eat.
But getting your kids to eat healthy is much easier said than done.
It seems kids are practically predispositioned to love junk food. Bright yellow mac n’ cheese, fruit snacks, and goldfish. Chips, sweets, and more are virtually irresistible to children.
But then again, aren’t they for all of us?
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how to get your kids to eat more healthy tips

How Can You Teach Your Kids to Eat More Healthy at Home?

Right now we are all spending a lot of time at home. That means we are more sedentary. Including our children.

Even if you have the luxury of dropping your kids off at public school or daycare, there is still a lot of time that you spend together at home, and this article can still be a great help!

The junk food choices seem a whole lot more enticing when you know they are right there around the corner and not in the vending machine in the cafeteria.

And they also seem to call to you more when you aren’t keeping yourself so busy running around with the day to day.

Home cooked dinners with fresh ingredients like theses super easy dump and go crockpot dinner ideas are a great place to start!

But even then, getting your kids to stop begging for chips and ice cream every day is really tough.

What if you are SUPER busy? Working from home, virtual schooling, and the like?

Can you really get your kids eating more healthy when you are stretched so thin you don’t know how you can possibly have fresh and healthy choices available for every meal and snack?

What if you feel lost with how to start your kids eating more healthy.

There are lots of easy tips and tricks that you can apply in your house starting today that can make a world of difference in how healthy your family eats.

They are simple changes that might be embraced, or might be hit with a lot of resistance!

Either way, they are important and easy changes to make that will result in healthy weights, increased immune systems, more sustained energy, better sleep, and overall a healthier family.

It takes 3 weeks to establish a new habit. So once these changes are made, give it a month before they are fully accepted by the kids. Some changes might happen over night, others will take up to the full month to be accepted as as new family rule.

Learn more about how to apply this tip in how to get your picky eater to eat anything.

Changes to Make Today to Get Your Kids Eating Healthy

1. Teach Your Kids About My Plate

So one thing that you can teach your children about immediately before making any dietary changes that feel drastic is called “my plate.” It is a modern simple portion control way to eat. Here’s how it looks.

my plate healthy portions poster

You can find “myplate” worksheets through Pinterest and Google for any grade.  It is really helpful if your children first understand what constitutes a balanced meal and also why they should eat that way.

While super specific portion control with containers is a highly effective way for adults to apply healthy eating habits and lose weight or regain health, it is not necessary to be so strict with kids under most circumstances.

Myplate is a realistic and applicable portion control for your kids. If they learn now why they should make healthy choices and HOW to make healthy choices, you will be met with much less resistance in the following steps.

2. Pick up some My Plate portion control plates

Teaching your kids about how a balanced meal looks is awesome! And it just might be enough to get you started on the right track.

Many kids learn best with visual connections. There are these super cute “my plate” style portion control plates for kids that really help them see what a balanced meal should look like.

Your kids don’t have to fill every square inch of the plate, but it gives you a great idea of how much of each type of food you should have in proportion to the others.

There are plates available in sizes from toddler through high school.

Once your kids understand what a balanced meal should look like and how to build one, it’s time to begin removing some of the worst foods for your family from the house that will make a world of difference in your families’ health.

3. Get rid of white calories.

They are “empty calories” void of nutrients. Basically they’ll fill you up and provide no nutritional benefits.
White calories dilute the nutritional density of the rest of your diet.
  • White bread
  • anything made with white wheat= (pastas, cookies, crackers, etc.)
  • white rice. (My kiddos love white rice so I often do 50/50 with white and brown rice or even brown rice and quinoa)

I’m not saying you need to omit those foods at all. Simply opt for whole wheat varieties or even try gluten free version!

4. Get rid of sugar.

If you are cringing hear me out. I don’t mean to remove sweetness nor dessert. Not at all! I am a huge proponent for healthy desserts like these “death by chocolate” energy bites.
Cane sugar is simply more empty calories.
Learn to replace it in your recipes and drinks with either stevia, monk fruit, or xylitol.
In all honesty, pure stevia extract takes some getting used to… The more processed kind called “stevia in the raw” isn’t as strong of a flavor and much more accepted by the kids and even husbands.

5. Try to minimize processed food.

Does the food have a label? Then it’s much more processed.
I get it, we need SOME convenience foods as busy moms.
I’m not going to lie, my kids have cereal regularly for a quick breakfast before homeschool. But if MOST food starts as close to how it is in nature you’re better off.
Think rice, quinoa, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, cheese, etc.
Not fruit snacks, Oreos, cheezits, etc.

6. Cut out the sugary drinks.

Soda, diet soda, (anything with those fake chemical sugars is equally as bad and can actually increase weight gain) prepackaged iced tea, kool aid, Gatorades, etc etc.
Even bottled fruit juice is LOADED with sugar and stripped from the fiber the fruits contained. Some is ok, but maybe a glass a day?
Your drinks don’t have to be all water, just mix stuff yourself.
Make your own lemonade with your new sweetener of choice, steep your own tea with sweetener of choice. Try out infused water (feel free to sweeten it if you are weaning off other drinks.)
You can even make Kool aid with stevia if you really want to.

7. It is a common misconception that eating healthy is harder or takes longer than convenience foods.

You can literally take 10 minutes to toss a chicken in the oven, throw some rice in a pot to boil, and microwave some potatoes and have a full, simple, healthy meal FAST!
It’s no harder than boxed Mac and Cheese.
That meal was exactly what I did tonight. And even with a baby in my arm it took no time at all.
HINT- use spices and healthy sauces to mix up “simple” healthy meals. Oh and on that note, if your family does have favorite unhealthy foods, try making a homemade version yourself.
You can make mac and cheese with whole wheat noodles, real cheese, and butter! (Made that one yesterday!  Once again while holding a baby… except for grating the cheese. I did stop and stare at it for a while. Attempting to figure out how to do it one handed for a bit but I gave up.)
Homemade almost always equals healthier.
If you don’t know how to do that, you can get my free ingredient replacement guide here so that you can keep making your family favorite foods and get more healthy in the process!

8. Another misconception is that it is more expensive to eat healthy.

Vegetables and fruits are cheap, beans and rice are cheap, water is cheaper than juice, and the list goes on.
Prepackaged processed food is expensive!
So if the price factor has held you back from filling your house with healthier options, know that the close to nature foods (the simple ones, not the fancy stuff) are usually cheaper than their processed counterparts.
Baking a cake or creating a soup from scratch costs a fraction of what a canned soup or baked cake would.

9. Try slow cooker and freezer meals.

Mom life was tough and we were all stretched thin already. Now in the midst of a pandemic, our plates are even more full than we ever could have anticipated!
Making healthy meals doesn’t have to take long.
If you aren’t familiar with cooking using a slow cooker, it’s going to become your new best friend!
You can make almost anything quick and easy. It’s set and forget for the most part.
Check out these TONS of easy fast slow cooker recipes you can even prep the night before or whenever you actually have a free hand.
Slow cookers are not just for soups and stews. You can make almost anything in them.

Some MORE tricks to help your kids eat healthier.

1. I’d normally advise to let your kids pick out stuff at the store.

Let them choose the fresh fruits, veggies, and fun grains to try. They’re a lot more apt to try new things then.
BUT pandemic life, right? So that’s your call I’m not sure where you stand on that.
Maybe browse online together and let them pick things for you to buy, or just buy some fresh new options and look up some recipes with them together?

2. Then let your kids help make their meals.

Once again, they are more apt to try new and healthier things that way.
Once you have lots of new healthy options of foods at home your kids can help look up recipes.
And depending on age can assist in preparing ingredients, cooking, mixing, etc.

3. Move the unhealthy choices away.

Out of sight out of mind. We actually just had to do this a few weeks ago.
I’d heard of it, but never tried myself.
We totally have junk food in the house but it’s the exception, not the rule. But it was getting to the point where my children were asking for chips (especially, but other stuff too) EVERY SINGLE DAY.
So I moved all the junk to a cabinet above their level and I was AMAZED within a few days they stopped asking for that stuff completely.
It worked so well that after about a week I even chose to hand them a cookie a time or to as a dessert on my own accord they responded so well.

Wrapping Up How to Help Your Children to Eat More Healthy

You are doing a great job mama. And you are on the right track to get your family’s nutrition on track! You are strong and capable and you can make these simple shifts in your household to help keep your family strong and healthy.

Make changes slowly. Adapt. Learn together. And create healthy lifestyle changes that are sustainable!

Feel free to reach out with any other questions you may have about family health, nutrition, fitness, or cooking in the comments below or at vigoritout@gmail.com

Which of these tips do you think will have the most resistance within your family? And which do you see as the most important?

More Healthy Family Recipes from Vigor it Out

How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Healthy at Home

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