Hi, guys! Have you ever noticed that in our society, most people seem to believe that kids only like meals with hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, or mac n’ cheese; they only snack on candy, chips, and cookies; and they only drink sugary drinks that have been dyed bright colors? Every time my son and I go to a restaurant, I’m usually pretty disappointed by what options are available on the kids menu. Some places have gotten a little better over the years and may offer a grilled chicken or fish meal with veggies. Most places also at least have some type of fruit available. But most of the time, the kids menu is full of not-so-healthy options. Some parents are also easily tricked into believing that their kids are not going to like something unless it’s one of the junk foods I mentioned above. You usually see special “kid-friendly” food and drinks at birthday parties and cookouts. Some people even cook two meals for dinner every day; a meal for the adults, and a “kid-friendly” meal for the little ones. But let me let you in on a little secret: kids will eat healthy food too. ::gasp:: Shocking, I know! But it’s true. If you don’t expose your kid to different things, how do you really know they won’t eat?
I always tried to expose my son to different healthy foods since he was a baby, but I still have those thoughts of “oh, he’s not going to like that,” so I don’t give some things to him. But let me tell you, this kid has surprised me on several occasions. When he was 1 or 2 years old, my sister asked me if he would eat salad. Of course I thought there was no way he was going to eat something like that, so I didn’t put any on his plate. Later, my sister asked him if he wanted to try some lettuce and she took a few pieces from her plate and put it on his. This little munchkin gobbled it up and then asked for more! I couldn’t believe it. To this day, he likes salad. But, I still have my doubts sometimes. This past weekend we were in a Whole Foods where they were giving out samples of sunflower greens. Now, I know my kid likes to eat salad sometimes, but I didn’t think he would like something like this. The lady asked him if he wanted to try it, so he took a small cup of the greens off the table. I watched him hesitantly take a small bite and waited for him to spit it out, but he didn’t. Even the lady at the sample table was shocked when he told her that he liked them. He ate the entire sample and then went back for another! Lol I was so excited he liked them, I bought a small container to take home and he proudly carried it throughout the store for me.
So we have established that sometimes what the parent thinks the child isn’t going to like causes problems. Even more problems arise when the kid is old enough to tell you they don’t like something. The thing is, most of the time kids haven’t even tried the things they claim they hate. Lol. My son is known for saying he doesn’t want something just because he doesn’t recognize it or because he thinks it looks weird. For example, my cousin had us over for dinner this past weekend and made a delicious meal of chicken with a shallot cream sauce, rice, and some freshly steamed green beans on the side. Right off the bat, Devin was trying to talk me into giving him only the rice and the green beans. I told him he needed to eat some chicken and he kept telling me he didn’t like it. Now keep in mind, he hadn’t actually tasted this dish yet and he loves chicken. He just didn’t want this chicken because, to him, it looked weird. Well, I made him try the chicken and then he spent the next 5 minutes going on and on about how good the chicken was. Hahaha He even said:
I’m just going to eat all the chicken first because it’s so delicious. MmmMMmm!
So the moral of the story is, let your kids try things before they decide they don’t like them. I don’t like the idea of making a kid finish their plate before they can be excused from the table because I think that can program a child’s brain to overeat as they get older. I do, however, make my son at least try everything on his plate. If I didn’t do that, he’d never know that he actually likes brussel sprouts and asparagus!
Another thing I have noticed about some kids is that they are more than happy to eat healthy when they aren’t surrounded by unhealthy options. My son loves juice and used to hate drinking water. I used to buy organic juice pouches and would let him have one or two a day. Once he had his juices for the day, I would tell him he had to drink water. He would get soooo upset and pout around the house as if I never let him have anything. I got so sick of it, I just stopped buying the juice pouches. Now he asks for water all day long and is happy to have it. I think he might even drink more water than I do! He loves the stuff. BUT, once he has an option for juice, he reverts right back to being a juice junky. The same goes for junk food. If I have cookies or any other kind of junk food in the house, my son will bug me about letting him have some. If I tell him to eat some fresh fruits or veggies instead, he will act like I suggested he eat mud. But if I keep the junk out of the house and keep the fridge stocked with fruits and veggies, he will eat them without complaining about it. I don’t even have to tell him to eat them; he chooses to eat them on his own. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, spinach, carrots, apples, grapes, pears, peaches… You name it, he’ll eat it. Now it has gotten to a point where he begs me to buy him fruits and veggies when we’re at the grocery store. Of course, he still asks for junk food sometimes, but I’m proud he also craves the good stuff.
If you have kids, I hope this post will help you introduce more healthy foods into their diets. If you don’t have kids, you can use some of these tips for yourself. There are all kinds of new healthy foods you may be introduced to when you start a healthy lifestyle. There are also healthy foods you may already be familiar with, but decided you didn’t like as a child (I’m looking at you, brussel sprouts). Consider trying different things before you decide whether or not they are for you. Quinoa or spaghetti squash may become your new favorite foods and you might just learn to love brussel sprouts. Keeping the junk out of your home and stocking your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies will also help benefit your entire household.
Does your kid like to eat healthy?
What are their favorite healthy snacks?