A plate of healthy delicious food

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food: The Ultimate Guide

Oct 29,2022read

Let’s face it: Getting kids to eat healthy food can be a challenge. Kids are notoriously picky eaters, and keeping them on track with a balanced, wholesome diet is a never-ending battle—especially when they’re caught in the throes of their awkward adolescent growth spurt. If your child also happens to have special dietary needs (as many children do), you know how difficult it can be to get them to eat the right things. Furthermore, parents have their own challenges when it comes to finding time, energy, and motivation to cook and cater meal after meal for their growing kids.

In this ultimate guide on how to get kids to eat healthy food, we’ll cover all you need to know about getting your child into the best nutritional habits from home.

Know Your Child’s Nutritional Needs

Your child’s nutritional needs will vary greatly with age. As a general rule of thumb, you should be aiming to provide between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, and between 800 and 1,300 calories per day, depending on your child’s activity level. Another critical aspect of getting your child the right nutrients is providing adequate hydration. A growing child needs to drink 1.5 times as much water as an adult—roughly 8 cups per day.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Start Early and Be Patient

The sooner you start introducing your child to healthy eating habits, the better. From a very early age, you can start to cultivate a taste for healthy foods by offering them as the main staple of their diet. Remember that it is a process, though: You won’t be able to magically transform your child’s eating habits overnight. It will take patience, effort, and time for a child to develop a palate for healthy eating.

Create a Happy Environment for Eating

As with any activity, you want to create a happy environment for eating. Make it a special event, a social situation where everyone is paying attention to each other and enjoying the food. This will help your child focus on the positive experience of eating and make it less of a chore. Also, make sure your child’s eating environment is as clean and tidy as possible. A messy, cluttered table is not conducive to a healthy eating experience.

A plate of healthy delicious food

Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

Don’t be afraid of Mixing Food Groups

As a general rule of thumb, you always want to keep carbos and proteins separate, to avoid things like stomach upset, bloating, and indigestion. But there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, and it’s important to keep in mind that this rule applies to adults, not children. Kids can definitely mix up their food groups—within reason, of course. Make sure they eat a balanced diet.

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Serve up Bright, Colorful Foods

Kids are attracted by bright colors—and, in the case of fruits and vegetables, they are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. For the best nutritional advantage, try to serve up as many brightly colored fruits and vegetables as you can—especially leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and kale. These foods are extremely high in fiber, iron, and vitamins K, C, and A, as well as protein. These are staples in a healthy diet, and should be included in every meal. You can also add in foods like orange sweet potatoes, red or black beans, or mangoes to add a little color to your child’s plate as well.

 

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As we’ve seen, getting kids to eat healthy food can be challenging for many reasons. By being aware of potential roadblocks, however, we can avoid them and create a healthy, nutritious eating environment for the whole family. In the end, the benefits of healthy eating are numerous, both for kids and their parents. From better energy levels and mood to better sleep and mental health, the advantages are many and well worth the effort.

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