Earlier this summer I went on a road trip with my three oldest children to Grand Forks North Dakota. While we were there we went to the famous Whitey's to eat (get the fresh Walleye). For their appetizer they serve a liver pate with crackers and fresh vegetables. My kids did not want to have anything to do with the pate but they downed the plate of fresh veggies like it was going out of style. My Brother's were amazed at how fast they ate the veggies and that they chose them over crackers and bread. I was pleased to say the least.
Don't get me wrong, my kids would sell me up the river for a Starburst or a Tootsie Pop but in general they are open to healthy foods. I have often wondered what things parents can do to inspire the next generation to eat right. I have a few ideas on what has worked for us.
Let them garden: In my opinion, if you want your kids to eat and like veggies, they need to help you in the garden. My children are much more inclined to eat veggies that they know they have grown. At times Mason has said that he doesn't want anything, but if we point out that it came from the garden, then he is all in.
Give them healthy choices: We always have fresh fruit and veggies and the kids can eat them for a "healthy snack" when they need something to tide them over until dinner. Their favorites are apples, jicama, and raw beets.
Set an example: Kids do what their parents do. If you eat healthy then they will follow. Children have a strong sense of hypocrisy and they watch to see what you are doing. I try to hide my diet soda vice from them for this reason but they know better.
Along these lines Jamie Oliver has a new challenge on openIDEO. Watch the video to get a feel about the challenge but he wants people to present ideas on how to help children eat healthier. Comment on this post on what you do to help kids eat healthy and then go to this link to submit your ideas in his contest.