12.18.2013

Teaching Healthy Food Habits

My little Twilight Sparkle is growing up and while I’m sad about it I’m also looking forward to doing new fun things with her.  This past year I’ve really been trying to include her in the kitchen. When I pick her up after work we discuss what we are having for dinner that night on the way home, the ingredients, and the steps that need to be taken to prepare it.  I get her excited to help and now she asks me what we are cooking before I can even bring it up.


I let her use the knives, big and small, with supervision of course.  Oliver usually shows her the proper way to dice up veggies, I kinda just do my own thing J  I let her measure out ingredients, stir, whisk, and pretty much anything else she wants to try.


Now I will say as a working Mother some days this is hard, if traffic is bad or I’m just really tired I honestly just want to do it myself and get it done.  Letting a small child help pretty much means a big ole mess, but I do it anyways because I want her to be comfortable in the kitchen.  I didn’t learn to cook until after I was married and I think that’s a shame.


I also am trying to give her a healthy feeling towards food, yes she can have a treat, but I also talk about how too many are not good for your belly.  We discuss what protein is and what it does for your muscles. I don’t force her to eat and while I encourage her to take a bite or two more of her food I never make her finish her plate. I give her choices and let her pick what she’s hungry for that day.


While she loves helping to make dinner she very rarely will eat what I make, she’s gotten pickier the older she’s gotten. She loves fish and chicken, likes pasta, but doesn’t like any type of sauce.  I plan to just keep offering it, one day she’ll come around.


What way’s do you guys teach your kids good food habits?

Here are a few of my recent favorite recipes:

32 comments :

  1. She's going to have a hot meal on the table when you get home from work before you know it. ;)

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  2. LOVE the pics of TS cooking. So precious!

    My little guy is only 21 months old so he's not really able to help much in the kitchen, but I always offer him anything we cook. He's had shrimp, salmon, indian food, all kinds of veggies. He actually really likes interesting seasonings, like cumin-roasted carrots. Sometimes he'll eat it, sometimes the only thing he'll eat is cereal bars and fruit & veggie squeeze packets. I try not to make a big deal out of it.

    My in-laws, on the other hand, make a face and act like I'm crazy for offering him green vegetables or anything with seasoning. It drives me nuts!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. We struggle getting our 4 year old interested in eating well -- he loves fruit though! I'm going to have him start helping cook more.

    Side note, I've found a lot of great healthy recipes on once a month mom for com. Why I like it is because they show me how to freeze the ingredients so all I do is defrost. It makes dinner to a lot faster.

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  4. I think that it is great you have her helping in the kitchen! My mom did that to an extent with me and it is some of the best memories I have with her :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing. I'm going try this with I-eat-only-fruit Elliot. I mean, I did get him a cool apron after all :)

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  6. From a nutritional standpoint, most kids have to try a food 10-15 times before they like it. That being said, I didn't eat tomatoes until I was in college. I think it's great y'all are taking the time and effort to teach her this. So many kids these days don't get that time with their parents.

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  7. You are an awesome mom!I need to be better about letting my kiddos help me in the kitchen.

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  8. I Love it Megan! My kids love fruit and veggies and I try and make them healthy lunches and dinners that are themed with whatever is going on (life and time permitting). P.S. Have you tried the PB&J quest bars? They are my absolute fave!

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  9. My daughter is older but we do a lot of cooking together too for some of the same reasons. I had to basically learn to cook on my own and it took several years to get the hang of it. I wanted her to have a foundation to start with. We also discuss nutrition and balancing food groups when we make dinner. Our family has a history of heart problems (and poor eating habits) and I'm trying to change that going forward. I think it's great to teach TS this early :)

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  10. I love that you're really working hard to include her and teach her about food. I always wonder what my Mom could have done that I would have had a better attitude towards food, but then I also think maybe no matter what she did I would have had the same attitude. I definitely agree with not forcing her to finish her plate. I was always forced to and when I got older I think that led me to eating to much because even at 17 I wanted to show them I could finish my food. Kids won't starve themselves so there is no reason to force them. Although I know it is frustrating to see it wasted. I'm very impressed with what you're doing :-)

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  11. I let my oldest pick out food, too, but what REALLY changed his mind about food was a course that his school provided about healthy eating. They had so much fun trying new veggies and learning about how good food helps them grow big and strong, it was a true transformation. Now he tells me he won't eat bad things because it doesn't give him muscles. I'll take it. He used to be TREMENDOUSLY picky, but now he is game for pretty much anything. I'm still holding out for baby brother...he won't eat anything.

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  12. this is awesome meg. i think you are an amazing mom!!

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  13. I definitely need to have my boys help more.. I am a working mom as well and I seem to lose my patience because I feel so tired! But a little patience and showing the boys good habits will go a long way.

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  14. I agree 100%!
    I try to do all of this with my girls :)
    I think it will help to have my girls talk to their doctor and ask questions because, honestly, the listen a lot more when it's someone else telling them lol

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  15. Thank you for this post! I think that is so awesome you are teaching her about nutrition and what protein does for your body, etc. I never got that kind of education growing up and neither did my husband and we are trying to learn ourselves in our 30s. I want to do better for our kiddos and your post has some great ideas. Thanks a lot!

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  16. I think you are such an excellent mom! I am still a long way from having kids, but I definitely think you have the right idea when it comes to parenting!

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  17. I encourage my children to try every food. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don't. I feel like it gives them an honest relationship with food.
    I introduced B to kiwi awhile ago and his response was "Ew... there is seeds in it. I can't eat seeds!" It turned into a great learning experience.

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  18. I absolutely love this. I hope I can do it with my kids some day.

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  19. Great post, M. I have major anxiety about this. In a way I'm glad I don't have girls lest I pass on my issues with food to them. I struggle daily with what and how much to feed my toddler. My second is still a baby but I know he will be a source of anxiety soon enough. I just want them to be healthy and happy and not at all neurotic or obsessive about food and weight like their mom. Unfortunately I don't know exactly how to accomplish that but I love your idea of involving them in healthy meal prep. I also relate to being tired after work. I skipped dinner tonight and Thomas had spaghettios. Lawd. Clearly there's room for improvement there.

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  20. I ask that my kids take 1-2 bites of veggies they don't like. It seems to work. They used to hate asparagus and now say they like it. Word to the wise: do not give a child in diapers asparagus.

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  21. First off, I love the headband, I run so I can eat. Where did you get it? Second, my kids learn by actions. It took me being sold on healthier eating for them to do it. Watching Food Inc. And Supersize Me was eye opening for me AND them (they were 7 and 5, but the "got it").

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  22. First off, I love the headband, I run so I can eat. Where did you get it? Second, my kids learn by actions. It took me being sold on healthier eating for them to do it. Watching Food Inc. And Supersize Me was eye opening for me AND them (they were 7 and 5, but the "got it").

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  23. My daughter is only 6 months but I'm looking forward to cooking with her so much!! I love that you don't force your daughter to finish her plate so she will know to stop eating when she's full as opposed to when her plate it clean!

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  24. I think it's great you guys teaching her this. I know when she gets older & has kids, she'll have those memories to share with them & even great recipes too :)

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  25. A kid who doesn't like sauce!?!?! Lol... that's about all I do like - forget the stuff to dip in it! :-)

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  26. One thing I have always done with my kids is try one bite of everything. I always tell them if they don't like it, they don't have to eat it. Usually they take one bite of whatever it is and decide they like it.

    Also, another big aha moment for me was when I realized they would eat what I brought home in terms of snacks. If I buy cookies and chips, they'll eat them. But if I buy grapes and kiwis, they'll eat those too!

    You're doing a great job with your daughter, Meg. We all need to teach our daughters to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies!

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  27. You are so awesome. I don't have kids, but I worked in a daycare for 5 years and went to college for nutrition. It is so important to encourage your kids to eat healthy food. A lot of Moms let themselves get defeated by their kids being picky and eating ends up being an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Kudos to you for being such a great Mom!

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  28. This is awesome! I didn't learn to cook until later in life as well. You are such a good mama!

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  29. This is awesome! I didn't learn to cook until later in life as well. You are such a good mama!

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  30. You're doing such a great job! I bet she will lose that pickiness soon and love all different kinds of food just like her mama! :)

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  31. My daughter, AJ, wont eat what I make either. AJ also loves to help cook, so many people tell me to let her help cook and then she will eat it, NOT THIS KID! It is so frustrating at times but we do make some progress on some days. I just celebrate those small successes a keep trying. I also don't force AJ to eat. I know at some point she will try it. I don't think I should FORCE her to eat. I mean I get to pick what I eat everyday?!?!? Is it fair to force her to eat something she truly doesn't like at all? There are things I don't like and the Hubs isn't forcing me to eat them! {yes yes, she is a kid, I'm the adult, blah blah blah}

    Anyway...I like your approach to teaching her healthy foods!!! I am going to start incorporating that into our household! Thanks for the great idea. Keep up the good work momma!

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  32. wow! amazing how she helps in the kitchen! You are such a good mom! I too did not learn to cook until after I was married....whats up with that?? lol

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