Have you given thought to making eating healthy fun for your kids? You may be aware of the alarming obesity statistic currently affecting more than 33 percent of all U.S. adults, but what you may not have known is that 17% of our nation’s youths are also currently obese! The frightening thing is, unless children are explicitly taught about the importance of taking care of their bodies and eating nutritious foods, this statistic will only get worse over time.
Depending on how old your children are, and the types of food and snacks they eat on a regular basis, it may or may not be easy to get your children to eat in a healthy manner. Just as a child will continue to eat candy if given access to it, the same will happen with unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, and donuts. If we permit children to eat unhealthy snacks and also provide them with those options, then we are essentially to blame if our children become overweight, or obese.
Making Eating Healthy Fun and Entertaining for Children Can Help Them Maintain A Healthy Life
From my experience as a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve noticed a wide range of snacking items students bring to school to eat during recess time. Unfortunately the majority of the choices I have seen are very detrimental to the health and nutrition of a child’s developing body.
I always had students bring bags of potato chips, donuts, and cookies. Thankfully our school recently took a giant healthy leap forward and banned these options no longer allowing students to bring these types of snacks to school. Prior to that, I would have some students bring a bag of Takis Chips (basically spicy hot Cheetos) every single day and when I frustratingly asked them why, I would get a response such as “Cause they taste good and my mom buys them for me!”
The sad part about the whole situation is the students didn’t even realize that those snacks were unhealthy.
If you are in the process of developing a more healthy life, and want to get your children to do the same, one way to get them interested and excited about this is by making the healthy snack fun and intriguing. Granted the effectiveness of this whole process is dependent on your child’s age, but you may find that if you show enthusiasm and devotion to eating in a more healthy manner, they will readily jump on board.
Healthy Snack Options
The presentation of the snack will be the biggest selling point to get your young child(ren) gobbling up the healthy stuff. Creativeness and ingenuity will be valuable assets in this making eating healthy fun process.
For instance, have you seen those fancy fruit delivery baskets by Edible Arrangements that are in essence fruit cut-outs on a stick? You can easily do this yourself (or with your child) by simply using various cookie cutter shapes and kabob sticks and then put various types of fruit shapes together. By doing this, you have the opportunity to get your kids to eat various fruits such as watermelon, oranges, pineapple, grapes, and apples. Literally anything that can be sliced and diced is a possible option to experiment with to see if your child will enjoy. This is a fun way for children to enjoy the colorful display and eat a nutritious snack too.
You can even put fruit pieces in jello, let harden, then use the cookie cutters to make a giggly healthy snack. Kids love jello!
Also think of combining snacks such as strawberries with low fat flavored yogurt. Or cereal such as Grape Nuts, Special K, and Cheerios with flavored yogurt also make a great combination.
When first giving these snacks to your child, make it as visually appealing as possible. For example, put the yogurt in a circular shape on a plate and then place small piles of Grape Nuts to make it look like a giant cookie. Or a snake shape out of yogurt on the plate and it’s spots, eyes, and smile made of cereal. You can also put the yogurt in a mountainous shape (maybe have to freeze for a bit) with a trail of Cheerios spiraling around and up to the peak where you place a miniature flag.
Whatever it takes to make eating healthy fun and enjoyable for your child is what counts!
Fruit smoothies are other options you should definitely look into since there are so many different flavors and options you can create. Experiment to find out which types your family enjoy and keep those recipes handy. You can even garnish the fruit smoothie with a small tropical drink umbrella or even one of your cut-out fruit creations to spice up the visual presentation even more.
To top it off, come up with creative names for your smoothie creations such as “The Orange Blast” and garnish with a curly twist of orange peel, or the “Pineapple Perfection” with a star cut out slice of pineapple on the edge of the glass. Soon you may have your child saying, “Mom/Dad, let’s have an Orange Blast!”
Build and Maintain Your Arsenal of Healthy Snacks
Keep a small kid-friendly recipe book in the kitchen where you add each of your healthy snacks that were successful. Pretty soon you will have your child looking in this book to see which healthy snack they want for that day. In essence this is what you ideally want, your child(ren) opting for healthy snacks all on their own without needing you to force it upon them.
By focusing on the presentation of the healthy snacks, you will make eating healthy fun and all the more appealing and memorable for your children. You will delight in their excitement and enthusiasm towards the healthy change and find that those bags of fattening, artery clogging potato chips are a thing of the past.
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