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5 ways to make your kids fall in love with healthy food

A young family prepare food in the kitchen

Getting your kids to eat healthy food can be a struggle

A young family prepare food in the kitchen

Ask any parent across the country and you’ll realise that when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthy food, the struggle is real.

Before you waste another day slaving over the stove only to watch your little cherubs throw spinach pasta at you with more aggression than Russell Crowe throws a phone, it’s time to change tack.

We sat down with public health specialist, executive director of the Sandro Demaio Foundation and organiser of the Little Food Festival, Natalie Molino, to get her tips on how to help your kids fall in love with healthy food.

1. Plant a herb garden

Fresh herbs take a meal from tasty, to terrific. They are super fun, easy to grow and kids love having a garden to tend to. Even if you have very little space, you’ll be able to perch a few pots on your windowsill.

2. Get food smart

Teaching kids about food is a great way of strengthening their connection to the environment and encouraging them to make healthy food choices. That's where the concept of the Little Food Festival came from. Using art and play, the Little Food Festival is designed to be fun, interactive and exploratory, to allow little ones to consider complex food topics such as health and sustainability. All workshops are grounded in education, with kid-friendly, bite-sized learning sessions designed by lecturers and teachers from Monash University’s Faculty of Education.

A young boy helps his dad prepare food in the kitchen

3. Be creative

Let kids get in on the action! The more you involve kids in the cooking process, the more likely they are to eat their dinner. Start by including them in simple tasks – pizza toppings, quick salads – and once they feel more confident, you will be able to challenge them with more complex cooking tasks.

4. Experiment

Experimenting with different flavours and texture is important, but don’t get disheartened if they reject a new food the first time they try it. One tip is to offer tiny tastes of new food among a plate of their favourites. Remember, you don’t have to aim for meals worthy of an Instagram post, but making food visually appealing and playful will make eating a fun experience.

5. Eat together

Try and find the time to sit down with your kids at mealtimes; it may not be dinnertime, it may be breakfast or lunch. It increases the enjoyment of food and encourages eating regularly and attentively. It also signals that when good food is on the table, everybody is present.

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