I hope that you are able to employ 1-2 of these tips that we have listed so far. Simply pick what works for your unique family and give it a go. I also hope that these suggestions will make eating well less stressful for YOU.
Children need to feel empowered, prepared and equipped to go out into the world and make their own choices around their health. Parents, educators, and food companies all have a stake in what our children value when it comes to food. Whose hands do you want your children to be in? Let’s start encouraging children to fuel and nourish their bodies. Food should be enjoyable and fun to eat, especially within a community or family. Sometimes getting children to eat well can be a stressful and exhausting task. Let’s change that around. You may be surprised what happens!
Create a different kind of reward system! Teachers: start making tasty smoothies as a “prize” or have “make your own recipe” days with healthy recipes at the center. Make this a FUN part of your time with your kids! Alternatively, you can create a reward that simply doesn’t revolve around food.
Begin to make YOUR health and wellness a priority. Your children observe and soak up far more than you may even realize. When you begin to make healthy eating and exercise a part of your life, you are telling them that this is important. Make this a family decision that you can do as a team. You do not have to be an expert or perfect in your journey toward health. However, making the effort will show your children what you value.
Plain and simple: if the unhealthy, processed foods are not in the house, the kids cannot eat them. I actually had a young boy tell me that this past summer! He said he does not necessarily get up and make the decision everyday whether to eat healthy or not, but simply eats what is in his house (which is often healthy options). What knowledge we have to gain from him! While there may be other opportunities for children to make food choices apart from your authority, you can still have the last say as to what you bring into your home. As you begin to empower, engage and create conversation around food, you may begin to see a change in what they are deciding for themselves outside of your home as well.
Talk to other parents (and teachers) about what has worked for them. Get them on board with your goal of creating a healthy atmosphere and conversation about wellness. Ask what has worked for them and what has been most difficult. We all need a community of support as we make changes.