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5 Easy Ways to Overhaul Your Family’s Eating Habits

Here are 5 easy ways to introduce new and/or healthy foods into your kiddos diets, without too much of a fight. My kids think ranch is a food group. It’s definitely a mom-fail, but it’s the truth. I try to balance their diets with veggies and fruit, but given the choice they would probably almost always choose chicken nuggets – with ranch of course!

So I’ve been trying to minimize the garbage they eat, but it’s not easy when they’ll eat two pounds of edamame but act like broccoli is toxic. I never know what they’re going to like or what is going to be declared “yucky!” So I’ve tried to find easy ways to introduce new and/or healthy foods into their diets, without too much of a fight.

  1. Take small steps.

I think my kids might go into shock if I pulled all the sweets and chips and ranch out of the house at once. So I’ve started replacing their favorites with healthier options, like veggie chips in lieu of Pringles, low-fat ranch, and organic granola bars. It’s not a perfect system, but as they get used to the new items, they stop asking for the old stuff.

  1. Get kids involved in the kitchen.

My kids eat more and eat a better variety of food when they’ve helped me prepare it. They take ownership of the meal and are excited about eating it. For more family cooking ideas, check out our blog post, Cooking with Kids!

  1. Give them options.

My kids are always asking for snacks. Constantly! I don’t know where they put all the food they consume! They typically start off by asking for something unhealthy, but I find that giving them options to choose from – even if they’re healthy options – generally stops the complaining and they pick a snack. So I tell them they can have a snack only if they choose between apples, yogurt, or carrots, or whatever healthy snacks we have at the time.

  1. Don’t make it a big fight.

My kids’ pediatrician told me a long time ago that kids will eat when they’re hungry. She also said that food is one of the few things kids can control, so that is why they can be difficult about eating. I try to bear that in mind when my kids are fighting me about a particular food. I typically put one serving on their plate and tell them that they have a choice – to eat that serving and get dessert or to not eat it and not have dessert. And that’s it. I don’t yell and we don’t negotiate. If they fight me, I calmly tell them they’ve made their choice and walk away. It’s not a perfect system – but they generally make their choice and we don’t have a big fight or tantrum about it.

  1. Be a good example.

I like ranch, too. And cupcakes and Coke. But I don’t let myself eat those things all the time. My husband and I try to eat healthy most of the time and hopefully our kids will pick up on those habits.

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