Posted on 11/17/2015 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
Dr. Lisa Metzgar, PhD:
As the mom of a teenager, I know what a battle it can be to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. It is super important to instill good eating habits from a very young age so they have a fighting chance to grow up healthy. With health issues on the rise with our young adults it is imperative that we start shifting habits and getting back to the basics of good nutrition.
Good nutrition really isn’t complicated. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of the basic nutrients that our bodies crave. Eating right from nature is the best way to get a healthy immune system and stave off many health problems caused by poor nutrition and lifestyle choices. We have fallen victim to the processed convenience foods and our children have lost their taste for whole nutritious foods. These processed foods lack many of the vital nutrients that are so important for their growing bodies. Processed foods, like drugs, can be addictive. Some even act on the same brain functions as cocaine and heroin(1).
So how do we get our kids to eat their fruits and veggies? Here are a few tips:
- Have your children get involved in the preparation of their food. It will give them a sense of accomplishment to know that they made their own salad or added ingredients to the pot.
- Chop veggies fine and add them to different foods. My daughter has no problem eating broccoli if it is finely chopped and added it to her scrambled eggs. This might be a bit sneaky but it works.
- Make smoothies. You can add all kinds of things to smoothies like different fruits, kale, and spinach. Smoothies are a great way to get several servings of fruits and veggies into a child’s diet.
- Let your chlidren choose which veggies they want. Children feel empowered when they are part of the decision making process. Just make the choices healthy choices.
- It is ok to indulge in treats once in a while but make deals with your children that they must eat healthy first. Don’t cave into giving them sweets if they haven’t met their healthy eating terms. Children are great at negotiating so stay strong.
- Make the foods fun. There are all kinds of fun ways to prepare foods that help kids to enjoy the healthy stuff. Check out Pinterest for fun ways to prepare fruits and veggies.
- Be a positive example to your children. You have to incorporate healthy habits yourself if you expect your children to do the same.
Hope this gives you some great ideas on how to help your children make healthier choices that will help them to keep healthy habits for life. Help your children lay down a healthy foundation that they can pass down to the next generation and break this epidemic of sick children, especially diabetes which jumped 30% between 2000 and 2009(2). Try some of these tricks yourself as well…we could all use more fruits and veggies in our diets!
What about you…have any fruit or veggie-promoting secrets to share?