So you’ve taken the decision to revamp and revitalize your health by embracing a more plant centered diet but your children aren’t on the same page. You ask “How can I make healthy eating appealing and fun to my children?”
- Lead by example
Your children will learn more by how you live than by any words you say. This general principle is true and it’s also true as it relates to lifestyle. When they see you exercising, eating well, enjoying life and feeling great, the lifestyle will become attractive to them.
- Start where they are comfortable
Whatever your child enjoys, try to utilize more of those staples as part of their diet and find other similar foods for them to try. Don’t overdo it though. A child who loves bananas may shortly be repulsed by bananas if they are given them too often.
- Mimic flavors the child enjoys
It’s often easier to relate the familiar to the unfamiliar. So if your child loves the flavors of barbecue sauce, you can find a healthy barbecue sauce recipe and use it as a coating for baked vegetables. You can also mix healthy foods into meals they already like for eg. Add bits of broccoli into some Mac n Cashew Cheese.
- Include them in food preparation including planting
Make this journey to health an adventure to which your child is invited. Include them as often as possible in meal preparation. Encourage them to sample new foods. Choose fun and easy foods to prepare. Children are way more likely to eat foods they played a part in preparing. Planting is also a fun and easy way to encourage participation. Plant some peas, corn and tomatoes and encourage them to water, harvest, prepare and enjoy the fruit of their labor.
- Offer healthy choices
It is harder to make healthier choices with unhealthy options lying around. Provide an abundance of healthy options for your children to the best of your ability. Over time, when they are hungry they will crave an apple instead of apple pie. I have taken the effort out by creating a cookbook full of delicious, flavorful recipes. Check it out here! Incredibly Delicious Vegan Meal Plans & Recipes
- Be gentle in your approach
Standing over your child and forcing them to eat healthy foods may result in a child who resents you and the food even more. Be gentle and fun in your approach to introducing healthy foods.
Let me know in the comments below how it went for you and any challenges you have. Let’s help each other,
To your health,
Dona Cooper-Dockery, MD