Power struggles over healthy eating exhaust parents and kids alike. You want your child to eat his vegetables and grains without the fussing and arguing. He wants to dine on processed chicken nuggets and handfuls of jelly beans. Finding the middle ground gives your child a balance of healthy eating without feeling deprived of some of his favorite foods. Not all strategies work with every child. Test different methods with your child to determine what he responds to best.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet yourself on a daily basis to show that you value healthy foods. Let your child see you try a variety of foods rather than turning up your nose at new foods that you think you won’t like.
Talk about the significance of eating a healthy diet. Discuss the health benefits and the increased energy that comes with an overall healthy diet.
Write out a meal plan with the help of your child. Give her two or three choices for each meal, all of which are healthy. This gives her some control in the matter while ensuring she gets healthy foods at each meal.
Keep healthy foods on hand and easily accessible to your child. Prepare fruits and vegetables ahead of time so your child can simply grab them when it’s snack time.
Shop for groceries with your child, showing him how to choose different items. Let him select the produce and gather the other items from the shelves to give him more ownership over the food in the home.
Cook one meal for the entire family rather than separate meals for each person. Offer your child healthy foods even if she refused them in the past. She might finally give them a try after you repeatedly serve healthy foods to your child.
Cook with your child to make him feel more connected to the meal. This might encourage him to give new healthy foods a try.
Plant your own backyard garden, particularly if your child fights against eating her vegetables. Let her get involved from planting to harvesting. She might be more willing to eat something if she helped grow it.
Encourage your child to try everything on the plate without turning it into a power struggle. You’ll both end up exhausted, and your child still probably won’t eat the healthy food up for debate.