Getting Kids to Eat Healthy … and a $200 Giveaway!

Friday December 10, 2010

*** NEW UPDATE:  unfortunately, Mary M did not respond in time.  The new winner is Cathy W (#158)!   Be sure to respond to the email sent by BlogHer to claim your prize! ****

**** UPDATE:   Congratulations to Mary M (#10)! BlogHer should be emailing you for the details.  ***

This is a sponsored post from Chef Boyardee and BlogHer.

Do your kids like to eat healthy foods?

Mine do!

Sometimes … or not.  It depends on what it is, how it’s being offered and what their attitude happens to be at the moment.

Chef Boyardee created a site called Club Mum as a resource for moms to share parenting advice on topics like healthy eating.  As part of their promotion, they asked bloggers like me to share healthy eating tips and we get to give away a $200 VISA gift card!

So… while I am far from perfect — especially in the realm of eating healthy —  here are a few of my tips for getting kids to eat healthier:

1.  Don’t bring the junk into the house.

I am definitely not a food nazi – I like my sweets and so do the kids.  But there are plenty of “snack foods” I will never buy.  Doritos, Cheetos, and anything else neon colored tops the list.

We do eat processed foods, but I try to steer towards more benign choices.  I tend towards items like pretzels, tortilla chips and goldfish.   And whenever possible, I buy the healthier option — read the labels and get to know what’s in your food!   Buy your applesauce unsweetened,  get the regular yogurt (or plain if you’re really good) instead of the super sweetened, crazy colored crap they market to kids.

2.  Don’t completely deny them of all junk.

While I don’t think junk should be a daily habit, I’m not going to turn it into a forbidden fruit temptation either.   My kids gorged themselves on candy on Halloween, just like the rest of America’s children (and their parents!).   And with Christmas coming, there will be plenty of baking and tasting and delighting in all that is sweet and unhealthy.

But, when it’s time to pack the lunch, it will be full of food that is good and good for them.

3.  Figure out what good stuff they like and make it available.

My kids love carbs (who doesn’t?)  but they need more than that for a healthy diet.  I try and keep the fridge stocked with fruits they will eat and try to remember to offer it.   Apples and pears go over well with some of my kids.  Others love bananas and cantaloupe.   Protein is also a smart choice to have on hand — I will offer the kids a slice of deli turkey or a cheese stick if they are hungry.  Try to make sure you have good stuff to offer so you don’t just fall back on empty carbs.

Basically, figure out what healthy stuff your kids like and make sure to have it on hand when the grumpy hungries hit.

4.  Keep offering the good stuff.

A lot of stuff kids will refuse initially, but I have been surprised at what my kids have come around on.  I can’t keep up with who likes what any more but I just keeping offering it and eventually, some of it sticks.

5.  Give them choices and let them decide.

When my kids come home from school hungry, begging for a treat, I will usually let them have a small little something sweet.   But when they return and ask, “What else can I have?”  I turn it around them.   “What do YOU think would be a good choice?”   I let them know what’s available and let them decide.

For school lunches, they bring most days, but can buy once a week on our dime.   However, if they want to buy ice cream (an additional cost) they must pay for it with their own money.   So they have to decide if it’s worth it.

When we eat out at Fuddruckers, the kids meal comes with a cookie.  After the meal, the kids used to beg for quarters to play in the arcade.  My hubs came up with a great idea — he told them they could either have 50 cents, or their cookie — they have to choose which they value more.

These are just a few ways of helping the kids think about food what is important to them.

So those are my ideas, what are your healthy eating tips?

For a chance to win a $200 VISA gift card, leave a comment below, sharing your tips for helping kids eat healthy.

Giveaway Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a)      Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post. (see above).
b)      Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
c)       Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
d)      Visit the official rules for additional forms of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents aged 18 and older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.  Visit the exclusive offers page for more tips and more chances to win!

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST, December 23, 2010.

For great tips from moms just like us, sharing experiences, ideas and advice on how to get kids to eat better, visit Club Mum. Club Mum is the perfect resource for moms to learn helpful hints on a variety of topics, which can be applied to their own family. Club Mum is also on Facebook with daily tips, recipes, articles, questions and a terrific and active community!

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174 Responses to Getting Kids to Eat Healthy … and a $200 Giveaway!

  1. 101
  2. 102
    Ellie says:

    I serve the fruit/veggie first at every meal, and then wait until they have eaten at least half of their serving before serving the rest of the meal.

  3. 103
    Pat H says:

    Let your child help you make their lunch. They will be proud of their accomplishment and want to eat what they made. Also encourage healthy eating habits at a young age. Also try incorporating foods with vegetable servings that they enjoy like Chef Boyardee products.

    chichibeans at aol

  4. 104
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    Betty N says:

    I cook chicken a lot of various ways. As I cook something I set aside some small portions for “tasting” grandkids taste each new item and either adds it to their favorites or not. I freeze individual portions of the various favorites so I always have something on hand when the grandkids come to visit.

  6. 106
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    shel says:

    My mother always made chili with carrots…I can’t eat chili if it doesn’t have carrots in it now and that’s the way I make it for my family. It was my mother’s way of sneaking more veggies into our diet and it worked.

    I always have a veggie with every meal, even if it’s only a green lettuce salad. I never forced my kids to eat everything on their plates but they did have to try one bite of anything new.

  8. 108
  9. 109
    Dana says:

    Having kids help make any food will encourage them to eat it – pride in creating is a powerful motivator. Second, I have a rule that everything has to be tried once; it they don’t love it, they can move on to the next dish but at least they try it. I’ve found that opens up a world of taste sensations and sometimes they come back to foods they didn’t think they liked, a second time.

  10. 110
    pixie13 says:

    start them out young & keep lots of fresh fruits & veggies around

  11. 111
  12. 112
    Paige says:

    I try to sneak healthy ingredients into meals. Most of the time, they never even know they’re eating foods which are good for them!
    paigewiley16 AT gmail DOT com

  13. 113
    Melinda says:

    hiding veggies in pasta sauce is a really good idea

  14. 114
    Blue Girl says:

    put sliced up home made baked potatoes in a mcdonalds container to make them think they’re eating unhealthy french fries which they love, but it’s actually healthy baked home made french fries!

  15. 115
    Joy says:

    instead of coating chicken in bread crumbs, try crumbling up dried veggies and using that as breading. . . they get more vitamins and minerals this way

  16. 116
    Artistic Baker says:

    cutting veggies/fruits into fun shapes – hearts, flowers, animals etc (cucumbers, cheese, melons, pineapple, zuccini etc)

  17. 117
    Meagan says:

    I get them to eat veggies by offering some ranch dip with it! And with fruit, like apples, I offer peanut butter!

  18. 118
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    Jean D. says:

    Fortunately, my kids happily eat well-balanced meals. I don’t have to make separate meals for the kids, separate meals for the grown-ups. One thing I do is serve fruit for dessert: cling peaches, canteloupe, pears–whatever is in season, or whatever is great from a can. I’m with you about not bringing in junk food. If it isn’t there, we can’t eat it.

    Thanks for a generous giveaway!

  20. 120
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    Sarah Scott says:

    I agree with keeping junk out of the house yet also not denying them sweet treats. (I try to keep our sweet treats homemade to avoid the added “junk.”)

  22. 122
    amy says:

    I try to involve my kids into the cooking/preping process so they get familiar with the food and “have fun” with it before meal time. 🙂

  23. 123
    Lathres B says:

    lamb stew with lots of vegetables & corn bread with fresh corn sprinkled into the batter is a big hit in our home.

  24. 124
    sandy says:

    less junk is better for all
    have them help cook when they can and have them shop with you and get them excited about vegetables and fruits…have them help cook and pick out recipes
    one of the ones I am amazed they love is spaghetti squash and they love sweet potatoes without the junk

  25. 125
    Anne says:

    My tip is to make sure most of the food in the house is healthy, so they don’t have many options. Sooner or later they will get hungry and eat the healthy stuff.

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    Qtpies7 says:

    I sneak pureed veggies into their foods. Pureed cauliflower in mashed potatoes, they love it and don’t know WHY, haha. We also had squash bars, which taste very sweet and unhealthy, but hello, VEGGIES!

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    Rebekah says:

    My kiddos have to eat fruit (or veggie) with every meal…even snacks. Oh, and it’s clementine season…best little snack fruit there is!!

  30. 130
    Tarissa says:

    We like putting chopped-up vegetables in our dishes. Extra spinach, onions, or zucchini can go in a lot of different foods. My family enjoys trying new recipes, and everything always seems delicious–even the vegetables.

  31. 131
    Sonja Thompson says:

    Have healthy things available, try them yourself and make sure that some of the healthy things available taste good. Most of all I serve everyone the same meal. If they don’t like it (which is measured by the two bite rule) they may get themselves a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread. This ensures that they have to take responsibility if they are picky and allows ONE other choice, not a short order diner, a known other choice.

  32. 132
    Susan C. says:

    We always had fruit around, but we were still allowed ice cream on the weekends. That seemed to balance things nicely.

  33. 133
    Leslie says:

    We label healthy foods “grow foods.” The kids seems to like determining which foods help them grow and it helps them understand why they can’t have something when I say no.

  34. 134
    Tamara says:

    I just always try to have a good variety of fruits and veggies available at meals. We try to eat good healthy snacks. I have learned that if we eat too much of the wrong kind of foods that everyone feels tired & no energy.

  35. 135
    Lovely says:

    Kids definitely have different taste buds. As they get older, foods they once hated will become tastier.

    When my son was young, I told him that certain foods are for big kids or grown ups. That encouraged him to try new foods.

  36. 136
    Deanna G. says:

    My tip would be to never force kids to eat certain foods. There’s healthy foods out there your kids will like, you just have to find them! 🙂

  37. 137
    Liz says:

    Keep trying until you find things they like. I hated brussels sprouts when I was little and I still hate them today, but having access to a variety of vegetables allowed me to figure out which ones I liked instead of figuring out how to get out of eating them. Also, every single meal or snack doesn’t have to be totally balanced, as long as they get enough of the good stuff every day or week and not too much junk.

  38. 138
  39. 139
    Mary says:

    I started with feeding my kids fruits veggies and yogurt for snacks. I knew I wanted them to be healthy and I just made it a priority. We do still have the occasional junk food and I love to bake but I try to substitute applesauce for butter and whole grain flour for white. Also, my friend was watching Popeye with her kids and told them that veggies are muscle builders. It works great.

  40. 140

    My daughter is very picky but at the age of 6 she understand that even though she dosent like it, she has to eat it because its good for her. sometimes she protests but mostly just eats what is on her plate. I have always made her try everything even if she said just by looking at it she didn’t like it. She is a good kid (most the time)

  41. 141
    Kerri Anne says:

    Growing up we were taught that a healthy amount of green on the plate was just part of the deal, and we had to eat everything on our plate before we got to leave the table. I use the same rule whenever I’m feeding kiddos, and it really seems to work.

  42. 142

    We try to limit the amount of snacks and have healthy fruits and yogurt and cheese in for snacks.

  43. 143
    Nancy Klein says:

    I’m a dietitian and I can’t tell you how many moms ask me how to get their kids to eat vegetables. My first question to them is do you eat them? Role modeling good eating behaviors is key to get your kids to eat healthy foods. It usually takes at least 10 exposures to a food to get a child to try it. Keep eating it with them and they are more likely to try it and like it.
    They other tips I have if you child has trouble trying food is not to forget cold vegetables (i.e. crunch carrot and broccoli sticks are great but, also things like dill green beans and beets); you’ll be surprised how many children will eat those who won’t eat cooked vegetables (cooked foods have a stronger flavor).
    BTW, both of my boys eat vegetables ever meal…it’s as expected as milk. One of my son’s has never meet a vegetable he won’t eat. He even eats brussel sprouts with gusto. I call him my adventure eater.

  44. 144
    Milissa says:

    Well I have some firsthand expreience as a child who despised veggies…I was a picky eater when I was little…I hated vegetables with a passion! There was absolutely nothing my parents could have done to make me like them. The only thing that got me through eating veggies every night for dinner was washing them down with milk (at least I got a lot of calcium that way!)

  45. 145
    Melissa says:

    My husband and I try to teach by example. We eat a very healthy diet and encourage our kids to do the same. More often than not, even if they refuse the first couple times, they want to eat what we’re eating–or at least try it!

  46. 146
    Ellie W says:

    My boys love fried chicken and want it all the time. To make it healthier I over fry skinless chicken legs. They don’t know the difference and I feel better about them eating it so much.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

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    Danyell says:

    I started at very early own with fruits,veggies, fish ,brownrice all healthy, because they did know any thing different they still eat this way.

  49. 149
    Chrysa says:

    Let them help you cook and cook a variety of healthful foods. They are more excited to eat something they helped to make!

  50. 150

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