Giving Kids Choices With Food

Kids love choices.  They love being in charge of things….and it could be anything. Something as silly as “you get to choose who gets their dinner plate first tonight” can be thrilling to a 4-year-old.  And if you think about it, they don’t have much control over their lives, so if we can give them choices with little things, they’ll feel more secure.  If we give them some choices surrounding their meals, they’ll be less likely to resist the healthy food we offer them.  Here are some easy ways you can give kids choices with food:

  1. Bring them to the grocery store and let them choose the vegetables and fruit that will go into their lunches the following week – if you order online, they can choose from the photos.  If you’re on a tight budget give them a choice between 2 or 3 affordable options.  Alternatively, try tip #2 below:
  2. Keep a list attached to the fridge of vegetables and fruits that are regularly available and that you can afford to buy.  Give your kids the freedom to put a little checkmark next to the ones they would like – and buy them next time you do the grocery shopping.
  3. Give them a healthy recipe book (that you’re comfortable using) and tell them to choose one meal that you will attempt to cook together that week.  Older kids can read the ingredients and make you a list of the required items.
  4. Let them plate their own meals at home, buffet-style, when practical.
  5. If they use Bento style lunch boxes like this: let them fill them up with the components of their lunch.  Younger kids think it’s fun to put things in the “wrong” section of the box (ex: putting the fruits in the vegetable section).

Hopefully, some of these tips will work for your family as you work towards introducing more whole foods into their diet. If you are looking for more tips and support improving your family’s diet, join my Facebook group by clicking here.

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