Most kids are aware that fruits and veggies are good for their health. But getting them to actually eat them is a whole other story! I have noticed that the parents who are the most successful at it have adopted four similar, healthy habits. Here’s what they’re doing:
Helping Kids Eat Their Fruits and Veggies: 4 Healthy Habits
Habit #1: They get their kids involved.
These parents know that children are more likely to eat produce if they picked it out or helped prepare it. They also take their kids to the grocery store often and allow them to pick out which produce they want. Younger kids are allowed to stir the fruit salad and sprinkle cheese and place veggies on pizza. Their older kids wash vegetables, assemble ingredients, and read and follow recipes.
Parents have said that once their kids get in the habit of helping, the possibilities are really endless. And bonus: the earlier they help prepare meals, the sooner they’ll be able to prepare meals on their own.
Habit #2: They go to farmers’ markets.
When produce is bought from a farmer’s market, it is typically fresher, tastes better, and is more nutritious because it’s sold closer to when it was harvested. Families have noted that going to farmers’ markets helps their kids understand where food comes from. Farmers have even answered their kids’ tough questions, like exactly how does milk come from a cow? Depending upon where you live, farmers’ markets are popping up all over, and may even be open on all days of the week.
Habit #3: They plant gardens.
Kids love to get their hands dirty and watch things grow. And planting a garden is the perfect activity for children to learn how to grow what they eat. Parents have told me that their kids enjoy checking on their plants’ progress and harvesting when ready. The key is to start small with just a couple of plants the first year while you’re getting the hang of it.
I have seen families living in apartments have success with planting gardens, too. Some have put tomato plants and herbs in pots out on the patio or terrace. Others participate in community gardens.
Habit #4: They model the behavior they want.
This group of parents has picked up on a key component of learned behavior. They know that if they eat fruits and vegetables, their children will be more likely to do the same.
The good news is that just about any family can implement these healthy habits at home. With more than a third of U.S. children and teens overweight or obese, it’s important to teach our children the importance of healthy eating. And forming healthy eating habits now, like eating fruits and vegetables with most meals, is one step in the right direction.