An author with waitressing, chef and food blogging experience has the perfect combination of skills to finding healthy eating tips.  Many thanks to Trisha Jefford for these useful tips on how to get our kids to eat healthy foods.  We’ve written a lot about this at The Lounge, and many parents complain that their kids are either fast food junkies or aren’t adventurous in the food department.  There’s a new chopped salad place in town which I LOVE, but it’s a little bit of a struggle to get each of my kids to share the passion.  However, with so many options, they’ve found ways to create their own healthy masterpiece, and I love it!  They still love junk food (who doesn’t?), but little by little, we can each make healthy changes.  Thanks Trisha for these great ideas!  – Amy

5 Tips for Helping Kids to Eat Healthy Foods

If you’ve found yourself struggling to get your kids to eat healthier I have some good news for you, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. With a lot of consistency and a little out of the box thinking you can reduce your kid’s desire for junk foods, and help them start enjoying healthier foods!

Decide to Make a Change and Stay Committed

Any changes your kids make ultimately start with you. It’s just as important for you to make a decision to change, as it is for them. In fact, it’s even more important for you to make this decision. Once you do, stick with it. Nothing will confuse your kids, and make them avoid the change to a healthy diet faster than inconsistency on your part.

Replace Restrictions with Options

Instead of placing restrictions on certain foods, give your kids better options, and make those options available. Your kids can only eat what you give them, so if you want your kids to eat healthy give them healthy things to eat. Put healthy food where they can get to it easily. Something as simple as a fruit bowl on the counter can encourage kids to eat healthier.

Avoid Rewarding Behavior with Food

Parents often make the mistake of using junk food as a reward. By doing this you’re inadvertently teaching your children it’s okay to eat unhealthily for a job well done. Do you really want to raise children who reward their good behavior with food? Instead of food try healthier alternatives like more play time, trips to the park, a puppy, a new bicycle or another toy that promotes physical exercise.

Family Meals Influence Right Thinking

Your kids watch you more often than you think. What you do they’ll want to do which means if you eat right they’ll want to eat right too. Instead of letting your kids snack all day, or take their food to the couch, sit down and eat as a family at least 5 nights a week.

Praise Healthy Eating

A child’s way of learning and understanding boundaries is to test them. Until they’ve firmly grasp this, they may not be so willing to do what you ask. Don’t label foods as good or bad. When your kids choose to eat a healthy food praise them for it, explain how that food will help them become strong and better at their favorite sport, or activity. If and when they choose foods that aren’t quite as healthy let them know in a way that helps them choose not to eat those foods. Praising the good choices will help your children decide to eat right.

It Takes Time

Like everything good in this world teaching your kids to eat healthy will take time. You can’t expect them to decide to eat better over night, but with a little consistency you’ll achieve the change you want, but more importantly, the change they need!

Photo credit Flickr.

Author BioTrisha Jefford has worked a variety of jobs across the food service industry from waiting tables to being a personal chef. Trisha currently blogs and writes for EZ Cater a site that specializes in finding local catering or the perfect corporate caterer.

Editor’s NoteLove it!  And like many things in life, baby steps are probably the best way to start the road to healthier eating.  Drastic changes are likely to fail, so I’m looking forward to trying these at home.  What ideas can you share to help parents increase healthy eating at home?  Add a comment to this post – let’s keep the chat going!