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5 Healthy Eating Activities for Kids
Imagine if we could raise our kids to enjoy eating healthy, to crave foods good for the body and soul, and understand the benefits of munchin' clean & green. It's not the most straightforward parenting task, but I tell you what, it sure is possible.
If you want your kid to identify fruit as a dessert or clean off a plate of leafy greens with a smile on their chipmunk cheeks, these healthy eating activities for kids will act as your most powerful ally. Teaching kids about nutrition is best approached with engagement, so here's how you can instill knowledge and passion for healthy eating even in their youngest years.
How to Teach Healthy Eating for Kids
Teach it, don't preach it!
These healthy eating activities for kids engage them in the world of nutrition and food, hands-on approaches that build interest and excitement surrounding healthy eating. Instead of preaching to them why they need to learn to eat healthy as they age, make healthy eating a part of their personality by naturally structuring it into their lives.
1. Invite Them to Cook with You
One of the best methods to invoke an interest in healthy eating is to invite your groms to cook with you. Plan a healthy meal with plenty of greens, herbs, and flavorful spices, and gather the family in the kitchen for an evening by the stove.
When kids take part in the act of cooking, it builds interest and excitement towards the meal. Watching the dinner evolve from raw ingredients into a dish will open their eyes to the joys of cooking, and they'll embody the process with passion.
Yes, they'll actually want to try the kale when they're the ones who seasoned & sauteed it, or perhaps they'll be a little less intimidated by mushrooms when their hands washed and chopped them. They can take pride in the creation of healthy food because they were a part of the cooking process, and they'll be dying to taste the fruits of their kitchen labor.
2. From Soil to Plate
Whether a full-blown garden or a couple of herbs in the window, growing your own food will instill massive interest in your kids to eat healthily.
Similar to cooking, this is one of the healthy eating activities for kids inviting them to understand and take part in the entire cycle of food, from literal start to finish. They'll take pride in their work and attain tremendous skill as you teach them to water, fertilize, and care for the garden, and they'll be that much more excited to put the veggies on a plate and munch them down!
Food is our life force, and gardening with kids is the best method for ensuring your food is healthy and free of nasty pesticides while promoting engagement in the process. Gardening teaches children to appreciate food for what it really is. They'll realize just how incredible food is in relation to our history as humans and our bodies, which will help them never take what's on their plate for granted.
Trust me, I've never seen a kid so excited to eat a tomato, and my surf kids were eating them like an apple simply because they grew them!
3. Color Invokes Interest
The more colorful the meal/individual food item, the more interesting and exciting. Kids are hella complicated, but at the same time, so much of them is simple. In terms of healthy eating for kids, sometimes all it takes is a little color on their plate!
Color is fun, and by first focusing on the sense of sight, you'll thus entice their sense of taste.
"A yellow carrot?!" they'll say in disbelief, or "I didn't know cauliflower was purple?" they question, curiosity enticing them to bite right in.
If you want to incorporate color into healthy eating activities for kids, have them choose a random, unique color on your way to the market. Once inside, they can select one healthy food item of said color to try for the first time.
Did they say pink? Try something fun like dragon fruit or out of the ordinary like rhubarb! Or how about blue? Perhaps they'll find a blue potato or elderberries to make elderberry syrup! You get the idea.
4. Make Healthy Sweet!
What if I said healthy eating activities for kids could involve a little bit of sugar and sweets? It's true; natural sugar doesn't make food unhealthy. It's all the processed, added sugars that do.
Foods with high amounts of natural sugar need to be consumed in moderation, of course, but natural sugar helps to stabilize your metabolism over time and maintain blood glucose levels for longer time periods for natural energy.
So, to entice children into healthy eating, an effective approach is to allow healthy to equal sweetness in certain instances.
Natural sugar is typically synonymous with fruit, and everyone needs it in their diet. In fact, according to eatforhealth.gov.au, most Australians only eat half of their recommended daily value of fruit, and by age nine, it's suggested to eat two servings of fruit every day!
When your grom begins to associate dessert with a healthy serve of fruit, then it's way easier to meet these recommended values and provide them with the many health benefits derived from this sensational food group.
For this healthy eating activity, allow them to make and indulge in healthy sweets, such as:
- Frozen grapes.
- Frozen bananas coated in low-sugar melted chocolate.
- Apple slices sprinkled in cinnamon with a light caramel glaze.
- Fruit crisps & cobblers made with healthy ingredients like oats and granola.
- Grilled peaches in coconut oil with a touch of vanilla ice cream.
And have fun with it! They're kids, after all, and this is your lifelong answer to satisfying their eager sweet tooth!
Sweet Teeth and Adorable Jumpsuits!
5. The Mini Shopper
Teaching children about nutrition is a necessary aspect of instilling healthy eating habits and enjoyment. This healthy eating activity for kids will cater to the teaching & learning process while curating an exciting adventure.
Start with some coloring! Print out a picture of a plate and have your little ones draw an image of their ideal meal, separating it into the main dish, sides, and a healthy dessert option. Provide your guidance in accordance with the various food groups and health food options as they work on manifesting their hungry imagination to paper.
Once their hands are done scribbling, work with them to begin translating ideas into reality. Go through their plate and identify recipes for each course, and create a grocery list of your needed ingredients. As you do this, teach them why certain ingredients are healthy.
Identify what nutritional value certain foods provide, which vitamins certain groups are high in, or how to swap unhealthy ingredients for better ones, especially in the oil department.
Then, once the list is ready, hit the store! In this time, allow them to take on the primary responsibility of locating and shopping for their needed items as they develop the underrated life skill of grocery shopping. Bonus points if the market has mini carts!
A culmination of essentially all these healthy eating activities for kids, combined together into one killer, engaging activity, then have your groms help with all the cooking to bring their little sketch to life.
By the time they pack their bags and head off to greet the world, they'll be far ahead of peers who stick to ramen and fast food, flaunting an immense knowledge of healthy food, a growing recipe list of excellent meals with the skill to bring them to life, and a passion for eating healthy.
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Live rad, stay salty.
- Ash, Dev & The Salty Shreds Fam.