How to Get Kids Interested in Healthy Eating

Nix the nagging and get tips that work!

Getting kids to eat healthy can seem tougher than herding cats. But you can find smart strategies if you’re committed to learning how to get kids interested in healthy eating—no nagging necessary!

As you try these strategies, the most important thing to remember is to be patient. Children often need repeated exposure to learn to like a new food. In some cases, kids may need to be exposed up to 20 times before they’re comfortable with it.

Keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy choices.

One of the top ways to get children into good eating habits is to limit the amount of heavily processed foods they eat. Instead of loading the kitchen with potato chips and refined crackers, stock up on non- or minimally processed foods. For example, Slow Cooker Skinny Applesauce is a smart, healthier substitute for many of the applesauce pouches and cups on grocery store shelves. Low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks are also a kid-approved swap for processed American cheese slices. Other healthy on-hand must haves include:

P.S. This is a general list of healthy snacks for kids. Always make sure any foods you serve your child are appropriate for their age and development. 

Let kids have fun with food prep.

Another method for how to get kids interested in healthy eating is to enlist their help during meal prep time. Give them age appropriate tasks: tiny hands can tear lettuce or mix ingredients, while older kiddos can slice fruits and veggies, with supervision when appropriate. When little ones become more comfortable with healthy foods, they’ll be more likely to give them a try.

Get your children cooking with 12 Healthy, Fun Snacks to Make with Your Kids.

Don’t nag them about eating habits.

Nagging probably doesn’t’ work when your son or daughter has dropped their shoes in the entrance for the umpteenth time—and it doesn’t work with food choices either. Make healthy eating a positive experience so your child is more likely to develop the habit. If your kid is making an unhealthy choice, suggest a healthier alternative. When they make good choices, praise them.

Eat on a schedule.

Kids who go into raving hunger mode will eat anything and everything they can get their hands on! Curb those cravings by serving three meals and two snacks each day. You may need to plan ahead with to-go snacks on busy days, but it will be well worth your time when you can whip out a healthy meal that doesn’t come with cheese in powder form. Plan your menu with 13 Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinners.

Make family-friendly versions of healthy foods.

Just because the kids crave lasagna doesn’t mean it needs to be dripping with unhealthy fat and extra calories. Here at Skinny Ms., our recipe creators love taking classic family-friendly meals and putting a healthier spin on them. If you want to learn how to get kids interested in healthy eating, serve nutrition and flavor with these kid-approved recipes:

Skinny Chicken Nuggets
Pizza Burger
Clean Eating Almond Butter and Jelly
Grilled Pizza with Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomato    

Let them enjoy occasional treats.

Banning sweets and treats entirely can trigger cravings in kids. If you children are eating a nutritious diet that helps their bodies and brains grow, you can still let them be kids by serving occasional treats. Check out these must-try desserts that kids will love:

Yogurt & Blueberry Jam Popsicles
Frothy Chocolate Shake
4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Creamy Orange Passion Smoothie
(Nostalgia alert: this tastes just like the frozen orange/vanilla pops you loved as a kid!)


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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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