It’s not always easy to change your eating habits, and it can be even harder to get kids and fussy eaters to try new fruit and veg. However, eating well and being physically active can help to reduce your risk of gastro-intestinal cancer. So what is a busy parent or teacher to do when faced with the challenge of changing these habits?
Here are a few ideas:
- Be a good role model – Kids will follow your lead, if you’re eating fruit and veg they will likely follow (though maybe not right away!).
- Change the shopping list – Cut junk food and unhealthy snacks from the shopping list, and replace them with easy-to-eat fruit and vegetable snacks. If it’s not around, they can’t eat it!
- Make substitutions – Fruits like strawberries and grapes can take the place of sugary snacks, and dips such as hummus with carrot or celery sticks make a great substitute for salty crisps. Keep an eye on the Gutsy Challenge Blog for recipe ideas.
- Stay Quiet – Providing the food with no comment will encourage kids to eat it, especially if it is the only option. Encouragement such as “You should eat all your peas” or “Carrots are good for you” from a parent or teacher can sometimes have the opposite effect.
- Hide It – For those particularly fussy eaters, hidden vegetables and fruit can be the best option. Put fruit in muffins, smoothies, or even dip it in chocolate! Add carrots, red kidney beans, fresh tomato, pumpkin, and finely diced broccoli to spag bol or pizza for picky eaters.
- Cook Together – When kids are involved in the process of cooking, they feel a sense of accomplishment and are more likely to eat the finished product. Younger kids can mix with a wooden spoon and throw ingredients in with a flourish, while kids who are old enough can slice and dice ingredients and use the blender or food processor.
- Play With Your Food – Show your kids the Gutsy Challenge video, where you’ll see a boy boxing with broccoli, a girl with carrots for teeth, and a girl using a watermelon for a helmet. Encourage them to make their own vegetable and fruit creations.
- Be Persistent – Any change can be difficult, especially for fussy eaters. Habits aren’t going to change overnight, and they will thank you for the long term health benefits one day. Stay strong, it gets easier!
- Find Other Role Models – Tell them about how big and strong their favourite sports star has gotten from eating all his/her peas and broccoli, and see how fast the attitude changes!
- Be Flexible – A ‘not so healthy’ snack every once in a while isn’t going to hurt. Allowing popcorn for movies, and sugary cereals when you’re on holidays or visiting relatives is a great way to show that these are ‘sometimes foods’.
Credit to Parents.com for some of the information provided