How to get Kids to Eat Healthy (12-2-15)


I’m actually asking the question. No, Seriously. This isn’t a guide to successful tricks. I mean, I’m asking you, how DO you get kids to healthy? I’d love to know! We’ve been “paleo” for several years now. I use that term loosely because we subscribe to an 80/20 diet. We aren’t strict about it, but 80% of the food we eat is game, eggs, poultry, fruits, and veggies. We do eat quite a bit of dairy, but very little grain. However, we don’t prohibit anything either. You may see us order pizza occasionally, or go out to eat, or the kids snacking on granola bars. I figure that if we don’t prohibit these then the kids won’t feel deprived and go on a crazy decade-long junk food eating binge in college. I do secretly appreciate when they make themselves sick on candy or pizza. They get it often enough to feel the consequences and hopefully will someday make better choices.

We also subscribe to the “eat what’s in front of you or feel free to choose not to eat” method. We don’t cater to picky eaters. They know that they can either eat or not. This has been a great success! Whoever invented this method has never dealt with children with the stubbornness genes of a mule. I have no idea where they get it. It’s weird. The idea to this method is that children that choose to go hungry won’t make that choice again, and will learn to eat what’s in front of them. Unless they live in our house. They don’t seem to mind being ravenous. They choose hunger rather routinely. Actually, this is the secret to feeding this many souls on a budget. Picky eaters that choose hunger are cheaper. We are saving quite a bit of money.

Another trick (OK I guess this IS a guide!) is to only have healthy food in the house. This works well. Supposedly they eventually learn to snack on the good stuff if you don’t buy anything. I mean, I think it’s going to work well. They’ve only been complaining about the snack situation for 895 days now. I think it’s about to turn the corner! Fingers crossed!

I’ve been cooking a hot breakfast every morning for about 4 years now. Strange how eggs get boring after a few days but if it were a bowl of the same cereal there would be no complaints! Did you know it often takes kids about 15 tries before they like something? Or in our case, 1460?

We’ve been living so high on the hog for so long the kids don’t even realize that it’s not common to get treated to a hot breakfast daily. They also think we eat steak way too much. Not sure many people would agree with them. Is there such a thing as too much steak? Definitely a first world problem. I’m grilling steak again tonight. I can’t wait to hear the cheers, the “thanks, mom!” and the pats on the back!

Thankfully there are plenty of adults at the table nightly to appreciate the blessings and bounty of eating paleo. We are lucky to have a freezer full of elk from Dad #1, free veggies from hosting a CSA drop, and some careful menu planning (feeding 8-9 on a budget blog post coming soon!). In their defense, they do have some good eating habits. They are all fruitivores. Sometimes I catch them snacking on seaweed wraps. (True fact). I took the little boys to the grocery store today and they both insisted on bringing sushi home for lunch. The littles also love fish oil. And sardines. (I guess they are set in the seafood department!) Maybe we’ve been living so high on the paleo hog now I don’t even realize they probably have healthier eating habits than most. It can be frustrating to put so much effort into health and cooking and have it be met with such opposition. Thankfully my better half is great at affirming our efforts and my cooking skills. I guess the key really is to continue to ignore the complaints and cook onward and upward.

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