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Love this tips on how to raise a health nut - must post on the fridge!

How to Raise a Health Nut

Eating healthy is kind of the talk of the town these days.  But what about when it comes to the kids? Are they eager to dive into a raw kale salad?  Do you hear your little ones declaring, “Hey! You know what, I think we should ease up on the sugar.”

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Kids are kids.  They are amazing and fun and witty and moody and uncensored and picky and above all, they like what they like. You want your kids to eat the meals they need to grow and to thrive and to be healthy people, because what’s more important than that?  Nothing.

Still, in the end, sometimes concession happens and they get fed what they will eat, because, hey, we all only have so much energy. But as we learn with each passing day, good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health.  You simply can’t have one without the other – what we put into our bodies becomes our bodies.  That kale is packed with magnesium and calcium, exactly what those growing bones need.

What’s a busy mom with kids who only want to eat mac and cheese to do?!

I’ve once again teamed up with my girls Katie and Megan from Prescribe Nutrition and asked them to stop by and bestow some of their nutritional wisdom on us.

Katie and Megan are the creators of the amazing on-line program built to help parents nourish their kids the right way:

New Online Course: Kids Rule with Weelicious Menus

Here’s a snippet on that program plus a 20% off discount code for MPMK readers: MPMK20

If you’re feeling challenged sneaking in the nutrients your child needs, but aren’t quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Kids Rule will not only fully support you with unbelievable recipes that your kids will love (hello cauliflower pizza crust & green smoothie pops – 100% kid approved), it will also help you navigate the complicated world of food sensitivities, picky eaters and behavior concerns. Sometimes solving these issues can be as easy as eliminating some common problematic foods.

PLUS, we teamed up with the amazing works of Catherine McCord and her team at Weelicious to bring you the best of it all – delicious, kid friendly recipes, video tutorials that will help you in the kitchen, and much more!  

This session as a BIG Bonus, Weelicious is offering all Prescribe Nutrition followers a FREE 30-days of Weelicious menus for signing up for Kids Rule.

A FULL month of meal planning straight from the Wee kitchen! 

Get all the details on the latest session of “Kids Rule”, running May 11 – 22, 2015, here! (and don’t forget to use the code: MPMK20 for 20% off!)

As with many of the Prescribe Nutrition offerings, I am an affiliate for – and big believer in – this course. I hope you’ll take a second and see if it’s for you. It could be one of the most important things you do for your family this year.

Here are their top 9 tips for raising kids who willingly eat healthy!

So what’s the secret to getting kids to eat healthier long-term?  There has got to be something more effective than “you can’t have dessert until you finish your broccoli,” right?  Right. The real, long-term, sustainable solution is to have kids that want to eat healthy. Kids that truly understand what’s going on with food and their body every time they eat.  Kids that know plants should be the anchor of all meals.

It is possible to have a child that makes sure you put the cauliflower in the shopping cart.  You simply need to support them in their path to health, give it time and watch them grow like little plants themselves.

TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR VERY OWN HEALTH NUT

school garden

1.  Build Your Own Garden

This is our very first and most important tip because it truly starts from the ground up.  Now this does not mean you have to build a raised bed in your backyard or find community garden space (but oh so cool if you can).  What it does mean is to find a way to show your kids where food comes from.

This can be as simple as herbs potted in your kitchen, perhaps working your way from basil to tomatoes.  Another route: if there isn’t one already, talk to your school about getting a garden going.  This picture is from a local pre-school that puts a big emphasis on the art of gardening. The kids go nuts for it.

You can recite endless health facts to your kids, but nothing will come close to resonating as much as them harvesting their very own lettuce leaves or picking their own lemon.  Guide their little hands in planting the seeds and picking the product and talk to them about the importance of living food.  Our favorite mantra: the more alive your food is, the more alive you are. We promise if you make spinach pesto out of spinach they help pick, they’re probably going to eat it.

getting kids to eat healthy

2. Give Them Ownership

Put them in charge. This is something that you can put into practice each day.  Every time you grocery shop, have them be responsible for washing the veggies and fruit.  Delegate some tasks: they wash, you chop, they store in containers.

Have your kids play a role in prepping foods and building a refrigerator with healthy options.  When choosing recipes for meals that week or even dinner that night, get them involved.  Tell them they’re in charge of choosing the veggies.

Whatever they choose, let them know why that food is so awesome for their health (and this is where Google becomes your friend).

3.  The Rainbow Challenge

This is fun and, frankly, good practice for the big kids too.  Why?  The saying ‘eat your rainbow’ is actually pretty smart advice.  You can be confident you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need if you focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Brightly colored plants are certain to be stocked with antioxidants which will support everything from a strong immune system to great vision.  So what’s the challenge?  Take them to the store and tell them they have to build a rainbow from their favorite foods – and they can’t leave the produce section!

When you get home, prep and dice food as necessary and have them build a rainbow on their plate – a rainbow they’ll eat.  Hate tomatoes but love raspberries?  There’s your red.  Broccoli is their enemy but cucumber is their fave?  There’s your green.  This is fun and an activity they’ll want to do again.

*Bonus points for collecting the most stickers off of produce to build their rainbow clouds.

getting kids to eat healthy4.  Get Them in the Kitchen

Going to a dinner or a birthday and you need to bring something?  Make it a priority to get the kids in the kitchen.  Even if you’re making something very specific and in a rush, it can be as simple as having the kids hit “pulse” on the processor to make their eyes grow wide.  Having them involved makes them feel proud of the food; even more so if they can give the final product to their dad, friend or teacher.  

If you’re baking, let them stir.  If making a salad, wash their hands and have them dig into the veggies to toss.  The tactical element of cooking and baking is not only an education process, it’s a process that gets ingrained into the memory.  A memory that tells them you don’t have to buy delicious food – you can make it.  The truth is anything that they make, they will eat; even if it’s a truly bizarre concoction.

OTHER FAVORITE ACTIVITIES

5. Let it rot: This may not be a favorite for the parents, but it shows kids the reality of food that’s living vs food that’s not.  Put packaged food on the counter alongside fresh food.  Tell them that the food that goes bad first is actually the best for our body, because it lives and dies.  Your very own at home science experiment.

6. Blindfolding: Show kids the versatility of food.  One of our favorites is to take a veggie and eat it raw, eat it cooked, and then eat it sweet.  Prove to them the amazing things you can do with healthy food. Our favorite?  Raw zucchini, sauteed zucchini, and zucchini chocolate muffins.

7. Apple taste testing:  Set out all varieties of apples, sliced, and served alongside pairings: nut or seed butter, honey, grass fed cheese, cinnamon, etc.  Let them decide what flavors they like most.

8. Books: Next time you go to the library, give them a challenge to find their favorite book on food. There are so many wonderful and beautiful books out there that educate all about fruits and veggies.

9. The last and most important tip for building your own health nut?  In the end, kids will eat what you eat.  We must be the example we set for our younger generation.  If we show that we feel our best when we eat our best, we are creating a home that sets the stage for long term awareness.

kids-rule-team-photo

Thanks so much to Megan and Katie for stopping by and sharing with us today.  As the mama of three kiddos who tend to eat little more than fruit and cheese, I can use all the help I can get!

We’re making progress though, C and I have been talking a lot lately about how we get the good things our bodies need (protein, vitamins, and nutrients) from our food and he’s really getting into the science of it all.  “What does this give my body mommy?” is a regular dinner time game these days!

If you’re interested in taking a huge step in improving your family’s health, be sure to check out our exciting upcoming collaborations with the ladies at Prescribe Nutrition.

New Online Course: Kids Rule with Weelicious Menus

20% off discount code for MPMK readers: MPMK20

*Post contains affiliate links.

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anastasia July 10, 2013 at 8:50 am

Excellent advice! Also, cook healthy foods with your kid.

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Melissa July 11, 2013 at 12:10 am

I’d also add to just start them out that way from the get-go… I’ve always offered fruits and veggies as meal and snack options. My kiddo didn’t eat his first candy until he was 2! (And then it was a rare special occasion event). He’s three and grabs veggies right off the chopping board to munch as I meal prep. For a toddler, he eats pretty healthy, and enjoys it!

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Felie Hempfling July 18, 2013 at 6:24 am

Such great tips! I think it’s so important to start teaching your kids young. Our daughter is almost two and she prefers fruits and veggies, she loves asparagus, Brussel sprouts, any fruit you give her especially blueberries and oddly enough she really likes tofu, I think she may even prefer it over meat. My husband and I do our best to eat healthy and I think because of that its helped us, help our daughter like healthier foods too!

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Cris May 7, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Great tips! I have an eight year old who turns down cake at birthday parties but loads his plate with veggies and fruits. He LOVES fresh vegetables especially the ones that he gets to help grow, he actually told me the other day he was excited to eat some fresh homegrown veggies because the store bought kind don’t taste as good. (smart kid!!!) He also educates his classmates on food and even turned down a soda when a teacher offered to give him one for a prize.. he asked for water instead. His teachers say he wins the healthiest lunch award at school.. and he is proud of it. (they also say he is one of the best behaved kids as well–which I do believe food plays a major role in behavior) He WANTS to pack healthy foods or bring a healthy snack for the class.. I think if you start them eating healthy right away they would rather eat healthy than eat the junk because the processed food makes them feel sick because they aren’t used to it. I have a one year old now so we will see if it will be the same for her!! I had to get a note from the doctor to continue sending her food with her (apparently once a child is one it is a law in Illinois for daycares to provide the food.. which I think is bogus). My note just says she is to eat food prepared by mother.. that’s all, but it worked! I seriously get upset with the food choices schools and childcare facilities provide children, it blows my mind.. I wish I could find a school or daycare near me that focused on healthy food like you were talking about above.

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