How do I get my kids to eat healthy and enjoy it?

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Answered by: Kim, An Expert in the Healthy Recipes for Kids Category
"I want my kids to eat healthy but I just don't know how. They complain and turn their noses up at anything that even seems healthy."

Sound familiar? You're not alone in your frustration and if you're like most parents, you have given up on even trying. Let them have what they want, I'm tired of arguing about it. Parents, you can do this. You can get your kids to eat healthy and even more than that, you can sit back and watch them enjoy every minute of it. It takes a little effort to get started but will soon become second nature to you.

The single most important thing you need to do to get your kids to eat healthy foods, is to find out what they like. If you were trying to instill a love for reading in your children, you wouldn't hand them your favorite book. Eat, Pray, Love may have stirred up strong emotions in you, but something tells me it won't have the same effect on your child. If your child hates reading, but loves cartoons, find books about their favorite cartoon characters. You have already won half the battle by getting them interested.

It is the same with food. We have to accept our children for who they are. We as parents are not going to convince our kids to eat healthy by pushing our own tastes on them. I think we all know that they are not going to get excited about eating healthy, just for the nutritional benefits. I have vivid memories of my mother placing fruit in front of me and saying in a sing songy voice, "It tastes just like candy." I thought she was nuts! If she thought this tasted like candy, then she wasn't eating the same candy I was. Children will be much more open to healthier foods if we modify the foods they already love.

My daughter loves mac and cheese. She wants the single serving mac n cheese that is made in the microwave. I have learned that in order to get her to eat healthy, I have to modify her favorite foods. Notice I said modify. We are trying to get our kids to eat healthier. I am not interested in making you feel as though you have to go to the local farm and buy organic produce or spend all your pay check on free range meat. Of course we would all benefit from these foods, but what I am offering here are some small, simple ways to change the nutritional value in your children's diet. So go ahead and buy their favorite microwave mac n cheese, something you already know they like and will eat, and add the nutrition.

It only takes an hour or two a week to prepare. Steam, puree, and freeze vegetables to add to their favorite foods. There are several cookbooks out there that will walk you through the process. Don't be overwhelmed, I promise it is simple and once you start, it is easy to maintain.

My daughter calls it "broccoli ice." We heat up her mac n cheese and cool it down with "broccoli ice." After making her mac n cheese I smash up about a teaspoon of cottage cheese and stir it in. Then we take about a half of an ice cube sized frozen, pureed broccoli and stir it in the mix. I have told her it is to "cool down" her lunch so she doesn't have to wait for it. She loves it and asks for "broccoli ice" every time.

Even small changes can add nutrition and give your family the flavor and desire for healthier foods. Continue reading for more tips on how to get you kids to eat healthy. You can do this, and we are here to help!

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