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2 Simple Tips for How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy

how to get kids to eat healthy 3How to get kids to eat healthy? Moms have probably been asking this same question for over a hundred years. I mean, even before clean eating was a “thing” I think moms instinctively knew that good nutrition was vitally important to raising healthy kids.

Of course the idea of what constitutes good nutrition has certainly changed over the years. But still, regardless of which food trends have come and gone, common sense has prevailed for at least three of the most basic nutrition guidelines:

  1. Eat less sugar
  2. Eat more vegetables
  3. Eat more fruit

It is hard to argue those three.

But, in real life, how do you actually get kids to eat their fruits and vegetables? And how do you get them to not eat cookies, cake and ice cream? That has always been the ultimate challenge for moms everywhere…

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy 2If you know my story, then you know I started my clean eating lifestyle as the result of a health crisis back in 1998. By the time our son, Blake, was born in 2001 I was already fully committed to following an anti-inflammatory, whole foods diet. After he was weaned, I just started Blake on real food. I used the Super Baby Food book as a guide and introduced foods one at a time. By the time he was a year old, Blake was basically eating the exact same thing as me and my husband.

Obviously it is easiest if you raise your kids to just eat clean right from the beginning. It may seem more difficult in the beginning, but in the long run it makes life a lot easier (especially when they don’t get sick!)

But I know it is not easy to do. I also realize my story is very unusual. Most young moms don’t have autoimmune diseases that motivate them to radically overhaul their diets. I know a lot of parents don’t even start to think about how to get their kids to eat healthy until they are toddlers or preschoolers or even middle-schoolers.

The later you try to change a child’s eating habits, the harder it becomes. But it is NEVER too late!

how to get kids to eat healthy2 Simple Tips for How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy

A mom of four emailed a few weeks ago saying she and her family were new to clean eating. She was looking for ideas on how to introduce healthy meals to her kids. After thinking about it for a while, here are the two things I think would help the most…

Tip #1: Get the Kids in the Kitchen & Garden (or Take Them to a Farmer’s Market!) 

Anyone who has ever worked with children can tell you that if they make it or grow it, they will almost certainly eat it.

I wish I can say I had a vegetable garden when my son was growing up. Although I didn’t garden, we did go to the farmers market though. I got my son involved and even excited about the process of picking out the fruits and vegetables. This may seem like such a simple thing, but it really does work.

And I most definitely got my son in the kitchen! I dug up this old YouTube video below of my son making healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins. The more involved you can get the kids the better!

Research Shows Kids Who Cook Make Healthier Food Choices

It is not surprising that research actually shows getting kids involved in the kitchen may make them more likely to choose healthy foods. If you get kids involved in the entire process of making a meal or recipe, they are 100 percent interested and want to do more.

It is also very important to expose kids to healthy foods on a number of different occasions. The more exposure they have to a food, the more comfortable they become with the idea of eating it.

Parents who say “My kids will only eat French fries and chicken nuggets” are often only serving their kids French fries and chicken nuggets.

how to get kids to eat healthy 5

Tip #2: Introduce Kids to Clean Eating with Cleaner Remakes of Classic Favorites

Deceptively DeliciousMy second tip is to start with cleaner remakes of classic and familiar favorites. Serving cleaner versions of dishes your kids already recognize will almost always be better received rather than serving something radically new and unfamiliar.

And just like Jessica Seinfeld proved in her bestselling cookbook, Deceptively Delicious (photo left) you can sneak vegetables into everything from Mac-n-Cheese to Spaghetti Pie. (As you can see from the photo on the left, my copy of Deceptively Delicious has been well-used over the years!) 

Here are some of our family’s favorite kid-friendly clean remakes of classic favorites below. Many of them have hidden fruits or vegetables and all are made with nutrient-dense whole foods.

Clean Kid-Friendly Remakes of Classic Favorites:

Want to Get Your Whole Family On Board with Eating Clean?

Be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine book! The book outlines an 8-Week program that the entire family (including the kids!) can follow together.

anti inflammatory diet

Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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