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Encouraging little ones to eat healthily is an age-old struggle. Dinner table tantrums are something that every parent has to go through, unfortunately. Fear not, we’ve got some tips to help you out.
Encourage little chefs
A great way to get your children to eat healthily is to encourage them to help you in the kitchen. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help them learn about nutrition, flavours and ingredients. Plus, little ones love to be involved in grown-up-stuff! The more they’re involved with cooking healthy food, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about eating it going forward.
Serve at the table
Serving food at the table is a massively underestimated way to encourage healthy eating. It allows you to tell your little ones about each part of the meal and why it’s important - e.g. these carrots have vitamin A, which is good for our eyes and tummy. It also allows you to visually highlight the importance of good portion sizes.
Be a healthy eating role model
You can encourage healthy eating with your little one as much as you like, but if they see you kicking back on the sofa with a massive bag of crisps, it won’t make a difference. For better or for worse, children are great imitators - whatever you do, they’ll have a go at. Make sure you’re setting the right example by eating healthily yourself.
Find your little eater’s favourite healthy treat
No matter how fussy your little one is with their food, there will be (some) healthy food that they enjoy. Encourage them to try different food as much as possible and make sure you take note of the ones they like and include them as a regular part of their diet. Trial crushed up nuts at lunch and experiment with sweeter veg like carrot and sweet potatoes. The more kid-friendly fruit out there - strawberries being a great example - are common favourites too!
Play with your food
Yes, play with it! Making mealtimes fun is the perfect way to encourage healthy foods. Why not try relabelling vegetables to make them sound more exciting: broccoli could become “little trees” and peas could become “superpower peas”. You could also try your little one feeding you whilst you tell them how yummy it is and then reverse the game. Children learn well through play, even at the dinner table.
Every parent wants their family to eat well. The best way to make this happen is to start young and keep it fun! We hope our tips will help you to avoid tantrums and get your child to enjoy healthy eating.