We usually think that as grandparents we have little to no influence on the diet of our grandchildren. Their parents have become so loose when it comes to consuming healthy food that even a bag of chips is now considered a healthy snack. However, not all is lost because we have a chance to introduce real healthy food in our grandchildren’s diet every time their parents drop them off for the weekend. The best thing is that these meals don’t have to be dull and tasteless at all!
Listen to what children love to eat
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to arbitrarily select which food the child will eat. If you don’t ask them what they like to eat, you are setting up a recipe for disaster, pun intended.
Of course you’ll hear answers like chocolate bars, ice-cream, and pizza but you need to filter those out. Maybe your grandchild likes the taste of pineapple but has never eaten it raw. Or, they like the aforementioned chips but they don’t eat enough potatoes in their diet, which is where you come in.
Cooking is the ticket
You probably have something that your employed children lack and that is free time. You can use this to your advantage and cook all the meals for the children. They might not be used to home cooked meals, and unless you as the grandparent don’t act now, they probably never will.
Once they taste steamed vegetable or baked beans you made with love for them, they will start asking for the dish in other places, like the school cafeteria. The fact that homemade meals are rare today actually works to your favor because you are offering the little ones something that cannot be picked up off a supermarket shelf.
Snacks are acceptable
If there is one thing that children like, it’s snacking all day. Suppressing such behavior is counterproductive. On the contrary, you should let the sweethearts indulge in snacking food between meals but you get to choose what they eat. There are many healthy snack alternatives, from baby carrots and whole cheese, all the way to applesauce and wholegrain crackers. If they grow particularly fond of a snack they get at your house, use it as an incentive to reward good behavior.
Meat is important
Although vegetables are an important item on a healthy foods menu, this doesn’t mean that meat should be thrown out of their diet. Chicken, for example, is something they probably consume a lot already at fast-food restaurants.
However, the quality of such meat is questionable so you find a butcher near me that sells good-quality meat. Buy fresh meat from them and throw in some beef or chicken in the stew you offer them for lunch.
Taking up gardening for healthy food
There is hardly anything healthier than a meal cooked using fresh ingredients. If you have a yard, then planting an organic vegetable garden is beneficial both for you and the kids. They will get a chance to witness the production process starting from a tiny seed, all the way to a full-grown pepper or cucumber they will eat.
Gardening together with your children is also a great outdoor activity both of you profit from. They will run around with the garden hose in summer learning the benefits of watering. You can teach them to plant seeds and then assign them a special plant to take care of.
A meal in town
By far, the best option is to cook at home and eat food in the dining room. However, if you know there is a good restaurant in the neighborhood that offers healthy food menus and you have tried it yourself, take the kids there. This is not something they expect so they’ll be thrilled you’re leaving the house.
Introducing healthy food into your children’s diet is easier than you might think at first. You have to be a patient listener and find an alternative to the junk food the children are exposed to every day. Finally, there is no need for healthy food not to be delicious!
Bio: Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. When he is not writing about home improvement, he loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar. More than anything, he loves to spend his time in his garage, repairing appliances and creating stuff from wood.