Getting kids to eat “healthy”

I  remember what it’s like to be a kid. I remember scrounging for loose change to walk to the convenience store for as much 10 cent candy I could buy. I remember being super excited any time we drove into a town with a McDonalds, since our little one in Arkansas had none. The joy of opening up that little Ronald McDonald box to see my fries, nuggets, and toy – that kind of stuff is not easily forgotten.

I remember my mom frying us up pop-can biscuits into donuts and drowning them in powdered sugar icing. No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. A box of Whoppers and a bag of Lil’ Debbie donuts always waiting at Granny’s house for the kids. Eating fresh baked french bread by the chunk on the way home from the grocery store.

I remember only having a bag of Funyuns and a Delaware Punch for lunch in high school. Every day.

Ah, the memories.

I also remember being called a fat cow. But that’s another blog post….



Anyway, I am determined to teach my kids about all aspects of food. The nutrition. The fun. The flavors. The importance of balance. We talk each day about foods that are “healthy” for us, and foods that are “treats”. Bananas, carrots, turkey, nuts, yogurt, string cheese, milk, tomatoes, cucumbers, peanut butter – these are all daily staples around here this summer.

Common treats are the ever-popular Icee (preferably in blue), fruit roll-ups, a bag of M&M’s, or those pesky powdered donuts.

I find that a big help in getting the girls excited about the meals that we are having here at the house is to make them very involved in the cooking process. Kids want to have a claim over something. They want to be able to say, “I DID THAT!”.

We had a great day, lounging around at the house on a lazy Sunday. It started with an oatmeal buffet. I knew Abby had eaten instant oatmeal when she used to go to daycare, but hasn’t had it at all here at the house. Time for that to change. I made a batch big enough for the four of us and had Savannah help me put out different toppings in ramekins. Toppings included: brown sugar, raisins, banana slices, walnuts, blueberries, peanut butter.

  • Abby had oatmeal with brown sugar and bananas. She took forever, but eventually ate it all.
  • Savannah had oatmeal with brown sugar, bananas, and raisins. She didn’t eat a bite. It’s a process…

But here’s the deal. If you don’t eat your main meal, you don’t get snacks. Period. Being a little uncomfortable for a while is okay with me, it makes them look at their next meal with a little bit more of a hungry eye. Less options = more acceptance.

Tonight I made some whole wheat pizza dough, recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine. It was my first time using this recipe, and I am very happy with the results. Definitely a keeper.

I called the girls into the kitchen to make their own personal pizza. They love doing this. They love it even more now that we watched Caillou and his friends doing it the other day.

Slices of real mozzarella

Van had ham and three cheeses (mozzarella, lowfat cheddar, feta)

Abs had cheese and shredded carrots (I know that’s odd, but that was her choice, and it worked)

I had mozzarella, ham, artichoke, bell pepper, spinach and feta



The Man had ham, bell pepper and pineapple. Because he’s cool like that

It was a great supper for the family. No TV going on in the background. No clutter on the table (a rarity). Just my little family and our personalized homemade pizzas. It was a good.

As you can see, they ate their fill of it. Score one for momma tonight! I also declared Sunday night “Make Your Own Pizza Night”. I have always wanted to designate certain nights to certain meals. Seems like it would take a lot of stress off of figuring out what to make. Sunday night is covered now. Maybe I’ll put carrots on my pizza next time 😉

I’ve bathed and put the kids to bed while making this post. Now it’s time to put up some laundry and head to bed. If you are interested in reading a bit more on kids and eating clean, here are a few links to articles I’ve found around the net:

Getting Your Teen to Eat Clean

Healthy Eating for Kids

Good, Clean Eating: What works at my house

Main things I believe are key is to limit or eliminate the amount of junk food that you buy and bring into the house. If it’s not there, neither your kids nor YOU will be eating it. And secondly, is to stick with it. Abby absolutely hated broccoli, now she loves it. She loves declaring things “healthy” and knowing that she is helping her little body to grow big and strong. Stick with it. Let them get a little hungry if need be. It’ll be worth it.

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2 Responses to Getting kids to eat “healthy”

  1. Jennifer Brown says:

    I think I want to come over for dinner!

  2. Alison says:

    Carrots on a pizza? Go for it. I have this amazing veggie pizza recipe that I’ll send your way. It has carrots and many other yummy goodies. And seriously, it tastes AWESOME.

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