Here at OUR Center in Longmont, our community market is one of the highlights for those who utilize our resources. We work hard to ensure our market is always stocked with good foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who needs food in our community has access to it. When you visit our community market and work with a personal shopper to ensure you have all the good foods you need for your home, you will be equipped to then share this healthy eating plan with your family. However, if you have kids in your home, it can often be a struggle to try to instill good, healthy eating habits in their lives. Teaching your kids how to enjoy nutritious foods and how to develop a healthy relationship to food will be a critical component in setting them up for success as adults.

If you are looking for ways you can encourage your kids to eat healthily, check out these five simple tips you can start implementing at home. Stop by our hospitality care center in Longmont to learn more about creating a nutritious meal plan for your family.

#1: Teach Them About The Value Of Healthy Foods

The first place you can begin when trying to encourage your kids to create healthy eating habits is to make sure they understand the value healthy foods offer. Without understanding why it matters, it will be hard for your kids to get on board with implementing healthy eating habits into their lives. Even your youngest kid can benefit from lessons about healthy foods. For example, if you have a kid who is really little, they might not grasp caloric intake or specific vitamins and minerals found in different foods, but they can understand simple concepts about healthy foods. You can explain to your youngest ones about how eating enough veggies and fruits will help them grow to be strong like their favorite superhero or explain how their favorite TV show character eats healthy foods to be able to have energy for adventures.

For older kids, check out books from the library on healthy foods. Take time learning together about what foods are rich in what nutrients. Ask them to practice putting together a healthy meal plan for a day that would provide adequate nutrition. Talk about how healthy eating habits can help us succeed in all areas from life including making school work easier, improving athletic abilities, and keeping our bodies safe from illness. The better your kids understand how healthy foods impact their bodies, the more they can grow to appreciate what healthy eating will do for their life.

#2: Be An Example They Can Follow

Kids are prone to follow what we do far more than what we say. If you haven’t prioritized healthy eating habits in your life before, make a commitment to do so going forward. When you lead by example, your kids will be far more likely to mirror your eating habits. Start by thinking about your own daily nutritional intake. Do you get plenty of healthy veggies and fruits? Do you eat consistent meals that offer you vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrition? If not, spend some time thinking about ways you can improve your own eating habits.

If you find it difficult to eat healthily, reach out for help and form accountability with someone you trust. Think about how beneficial it will be for your whole family if you adopt better nutrition.

#3: Get Creative With Meals

Let’s face it. Kids can be picky eaters. If you have kids that are struggling to get on board with healthy eating, think about creative ways you can implement the good foods they need in their diet. For example, a bowl of veggies might not be appetizing to your picky eater, but if you cook these same veggies in a delicious casserole, they might be more prone to accepting them as part of their diet.

If you struggle to think of creative ways to add better nutrition into your picky eater’s diet, talk to us about assistance with meal planning. Part of our goal at OUR Center is to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy eating. We will be happy to work with you to think about ways you can help your kids learn to enjoy healthy foods in their daily diet.

#4: Limit Snacking

Who doesn’t love crunching on a big bag of chips in the evening? While snacking can be a great pleasure, it isn’t always the best way to implement good health. If your kids spend a lot of their day snacking on junk food, they will be full before meal time ever arrives. This can make it hard to implement healthy eating. Limit snacking in your home to ensure that everyone arrives at the dinner table hungry. A hungry kid is much more likely to eat the food that is offered, including fruits and veggies, than a kid who is full from snacks.

A great way to allow hungry kids to enjoy snacks throughout the day is to implement healthy snacks in your home. Have carrots and other veggies on hand for a growing kid who needs some extra food between meals. Limit junk food snacks to a rare treat and encourage healthy snacking instead.

#5: Ask Them To Be Involved In Healthy Planning

As you kids get older, one of the best ways to get them on board for healthy eating is to involve them in the process. Allow them to help you plan out healthy meals and ask for their input as you put together the week’s supplies. By asking them to contribute, you can prepare them for when they live on their own one day. The more they practice thinking about the nutritional value of their food and what foods will help contribute to their daily needs, the better equipped they are for having a healthy future.

If you are trying to implement healthier eating habits in your home and you need a little assistance, please stop by OUR Center. We help those in our community who need access to healthy groceries and assistance with budgeting and meal planning. We will be happy to work with you to help your home implement healthy eating habits for all.