20 Ways to Get Your Family on Board with Healthy Eating

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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20 Ways to Get Your Family on Board with Healthy Eating

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!

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

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6 responses to “20 Ways to Get Your Family on Board with Healthy Eating”

  1. Avatar Sam says:

    Some kids (and adults) won’t like all vegetables, so rather than making your children eat them and turning it into an ordeal, we focus on the vegetables they like. In addition to this, don’t be dismissive when they opt not to eat certain vegetables, but rather offer them ‘contracts’. If they are not overly enjoying a vegetable “If you eat all of your potatoes, then you only need to eat half of your broccoli” – The trick is mix up the offering. Next time it might be the other way around.

  2. Avatar Sarah says:

    I know the veg my boys like to eat so that’s what I give them! When veggies are on the plate I encourage and do myself as well, to eat all the veggies up first and then savour the rest! I also grow some veg and involve the boys in this and the more we do it the more they are eating! I’ve even seem them picking at peas, rasberries and other stuff when in the garden playing! When I make anything like chilli/curry/stew style dishes I always bulk up the meat with veggies – they never guess! And when I buy frozen stuff like waffles etc (as we all have quick oven food in the freezer – I always buy the ones mixed with veg! They don’t eat all veg but I do feel I get stuff they say they don’t like down them on occasions and embrace the veg they do like!

  3. Avatar Shemar Moore's Bae says:

    I always try introducing new vegetables to my daughter and she is always willing to try. if she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to eat it. I told here sometime you need to acquire a taste for and explain how healthy they are. She continues to try and I can’t knock her for that. She eats what she likes and is willing to try things she thinks she hates. Some things she can now “tolerate” and only eats small amounts of. I’m perfectly ok with that. It’s how I’ve learned to love mushrooms and spinach.

  4. Avatar roxy says:

    what about cottage cheese, my granddaughter can eat this non-stop!

  5. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Coconut oil has more fat compared to butter. It is preferable (in small amounts) because of the smoke point. But if you are watching your saturated fats please be aware that coconut oil is not a good substitution for butter for that reason!

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