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Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy

National Nutrition Month has come to an end, but our mission to create a healthier community lives on. To celebrate, we introduced our Chobani Tots and Kids Greek Yogurt Pouches recently and Chobani advocate Dr. Alanna Levine gave us kid-friendly yogurt choosing tips!

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Then, we turned to you and asked: how do you inspire your children to eat and live healthy?

The following are our five favorite tips from our fellow community on ways to encourage our little (and often notoriously picky) ones to make healthier food choices and create lifestyle habits that will last long after they’ve left the nest.

  1. Make it reachable. As parents and guardians, we tend to spend anxious hours making sure countertops and tables are kid-proof, putting potentially harmful items out of little arms’ reach. But take the opposite approach when it comes to the good stuff. Healthy eating is all the easier when it’s convenient, quick, and grabbable. Ami Paulsen swears by having plenty of convenient snacks on hand for her family. “We make sure to have great “grab snacks” like cheese sticks, snack peppers, and Chobani Greek yogurt tubes.”

    Fawn from Opal Mom agrees on the power of having quick and easy to pack foods, but also calls out the importance of taste. “We often include a yogurt pouch with our son’s morning snack so he gets a nice dose of calcium in a flavor that he looks forward to having.” Stock up on appetizing, convenient options that don’t skimp on nutrients and you’ll feel the need to drive through the fast food lane less and less.

  2. Pick nature. Watch out, Willy Wonka — Mother Nature is ready and able to give you a run for your money. Amy Adams O’Leary said it best: “You’d be surprised how easily fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth! And, Chobani combined some of our favorite things — fruit, veggies, and yogurt — into our cherished pouches that are so easy to take on the go.”

    Spear peeled bananas with sticks in lieu of lollipops, swap a pack of Nerds with a classic box of raisins, or adventure into the land of exotic-looking and tropical fruits to appeal to kids’ natural curiosity.

  3. Encourage participation. We often get into a routine of bringing groceries home for the kids to scrounge through or putting a prepared dinner plate of food in front of them, expecting them to dive right in. Many times, however, we’re met with groans of disappointment and picky forks that somehow miss the humble circle of peas.

    To combat this, Francine from Bella Vita Dolce advocates for group grocery shopping. “I’ve found that kids love when they get to be part of the decision-making.” The same goes for meal prep, according to Jennifer from Engineer Mommy. “Kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods when they are involved in cooking and preparing the meal,” she says. Go team!

  4. Play hide and seek. “Hiding” nutrient-packed foods in regular meals is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and for good reason. It works. Kelly from Are You Finished Yet? says, “I hide healthy stuff in my kids’ food all the time. I add vegetable purees to pasta sauce and mix small servings of avocado or spinach into smoothies.”

    At the same time, we agree with Brittney over at Brittney’s Rabbit Hole that education and awareness is also important. “Our kids learn from watching us. They see me trying, learning, and coming back to it!” So, after they gobble up a vegetable in disguise, try excitedly mentioning that it had spinach in it. Or, turn it into a game and ask them if they can “seek out” the hidden ingredient. Soon they should start to realize that healthy can be yummy and fun, too.

  5. Grant independence. Kids love the chance to have a bit of freedom and autonomy. Allowing them opportunities to make their own healthy choices is a great way to encourage sustainable habits. For example, Danica over at Memoirs of a Mommy tells us, “When my picky eater is hard to please, I give two to three healthy options to choose from for his snack and/or meal so that he can feel more independent.”

    Kelly Mock takes a similar approach when it comes to the actual act of eating. We often feel the need to ask our children to clean their plate before leaving the table, but as Kelly points out, “It’s important for a child to tell you when he/she wants more of something, but also when they are finished eating. I want to make sure my daughter is getting enough, but also not to force her to eat too much!”

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Which tip are you excited try? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or in a tweet. Don’t forget to tag your posts with #chobanikids!