When your fitness tribe also happens to be your family, it might be challenging to get everyone excited about kale, quinoa and cauliflower — especially little mouths that aren’t accustomed to eating these foods.
Here are 20 ways to help you get your family on board with healthy eating.
1. Don’t suddenly overhaul your family’s diet. Start small with one healthy change at a time.
2. Be a role model. Eat the nutritious foods you want your family to eat.
3. Nudge, don’t nag. You want your family to want nutritious foods.
4. Introduce new foods gradually and prepare them a few different ways to see what everyone likes best.
5. Stock healthy snacks in plain view — place a bowl of fruit on the counter, for example.
6. Eat nutritious meals together as a family. They don’t have to be fancy, just delicious.
7. Make the farmer’s market a family affair. Have the kids choose one vegetable they want to help prepare that week.
8. When making casseroles, meatloaf, chili, soups and stews, toss in some grated, chopped or pureed vegetables, too.
9. When you talk about healthy foods with your family, highlight the nutrients the foods provide.
10. Explore new ways to prepare veggies. If you usually steam, try roasting or grilling. Start by trying some easy, 5-star recipes online.
11. Teach your kids to honor their hunger cues. When they tell you they’re full, don’t insist they clean their plate.
12. Take pride in food presentation. Research shows beautiful food actually tastes better.
13. Get your family involved in meal planning and food prep. For example, have your kids choose something to eat for Meatless Monday.
14. Limit fruit juice intake to one 6-ounce glass per day. Any more than that and those calories will quickly add up.
15. Have fun with healthy foods to make them more appealing to kids. Try making celery boats, or cutting fruit and vegetables into fun shapes with small cookie cutters.
16. Stir frozen vegetables into canned soups or frozen entrees. This is something older kids can do even when they’re fending for themselves.
17. Select snacks that provide around 150 to 200 calories, and also make sure they contain some protein, fiber, or healthy fats.
18. Teach your family how to read the Nutrition Facts Label and have them help you scan the ingredients at the grocery store.
19. Adopt a “No Sugar-Sweetened Drink Policy” at home. Make milk or water the go-to beverage at mealtime and save soda, fruit punch, and sports drinks for special occasions.
20. Learn a few healthy ingredient swaps, such as using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, or coconut oil instead of butter in baked goods, to cut down on saturated. Simple substitutions go a long way in helping your family eat more healthfully.
How do you get your little ones (and picky big ones) to eat healthy foods? Share in the comments below!