This happened for me by surprise. As far as eating healthy, I knew I was putting the right pieces together for all of my children, but when it actually happened, I was floored. And now that salad eating is a normal occurrence, and we need to grocery shop for his favorite lettuce (Romaine), I’m able to step back to see how I got to a point where my 5 year old LIKES eating salad.
Step 1 – Snacks are (only) fruit or veggies
I have 4 sons, so each have their own preferences, but we have a lot of success with apples, grapes, bananas, clementines, pears and carrots. The goal is to get away from the crunchy fillers. Give them something nutritious and beneficial, while not ruining their dinner.
Step 2 – Eat lettuce
You need to be seen eating lettuce. Throwing it in smoothies, dipping it in hummus, making a salad. And eat salads when you go out. Always add a salad when you eat out.
I keep the bottom shelf full of green vegetables. It’s eye level for my kids. Every time they open the fridge it’s the first thing they see…there’s the lettuce.
Step 4 – Cook
Overall, you want to minimize the processed, boxed food. It’s full of salt and sugar and those override kid’s tastebuds. They will never enjoy salad if it’s competing with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios or Hamburger Helper. Instead, make granola for breakfast and cook up a light tomato sauce for pasta. You will have some resistance at first, but that’s the salt and sugar talking. The bigger the resistance, the more you need to do it.
Step 5 – Act nonchalant
Appear calm and relaxed. Didn’t like that new food? “That’s ok, sometimes it takes time for your taste buds to change.” Just keep making offers without pushing or taking it personally. And then move on.
These changes take time and patience, hang in there!
In the comments below, let me know about some healthy wins you’ve had in your house and how you got there!