How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food

May 28, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Food & Nutrition

How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food - Baby & Beyond

In all my years as a mom blogger, probably the most common question I have heard is, “How do I get my fussy-eater child interested in eating healthy food?”


I recently attended the #TimetoGrow event hosted by Pediasure, which also saw the launch of their new ‘Cookies and Cream’ flavour, where the focus of discussion was getting children interested in eating healthy. On the panel were Lara Dutta, Mahesh Bhupathi, Dr. Indu Khosla (leading pediatrician) and Dr. Eileen Canday (Head of Nutrition at Reliance Foundation Hospital).


I have found that healthy eating cannot be forced on a child. It is something they learn and inculcate on their own. We as parents play an important role in aiding this process. So I thought of sharing a few simple things I did to make my child interested in eating healthy food.


1. Being a role model: 

Children learn best by example. If they see us watching a screen while eating, or eating junk food, those are the habits they will pick up. We need to be role models for them. Mahesh Bhupathi iterated this saying he does not indulge in chocolates in front of his daughter.


2. Family mealtime: 

Family mealtime is a wonderful opportunity to show children good table manners and healthy food choices. We make it a point to eat at least one meal together as a family.


How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food - Baby & Beyond

How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food – Baby & Beyond


3. Involving my child in preparing the meal:

I involve him right from grocery shopping to cooking and setting the table.  I talk about the ingredients, what they taste like and why they are good for him. Being involved in preparing the meal gives him ownership. He is more likely to eat what he has had a hand in preparing.


4. Giving him options:

Before preparing the meal, I give him two options of what he would like to eat. This makes him feel like he is in control of what he is eating and is more likely to eat what he himself has chosen.


5. Introducing family food early on: 

We introduced family food early and transitioned to family meals (without salt and chillies) by nine months. This introduced him to a variety of flavours at an age when children are more open to trying out new foods.

How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food - Baby & Beyond

Introduce a range of flavours early on. This was a meal for my child at 11months – Minced chicken with peas, mashed potatoes and steamed carrots and broccoli


6. Avoiding distraction feeding: 

Right from day one, we encouraged him to eat at the table without screens, toys or books. When children are distracted, they tend to eat more. However this is akin to force feeding and may make the child dislike food altogether. The idea should not just be to finish everything on the plate, but to develop a healthy relation with food.


7. Having patience: 

I remember the excitement of having my son try out a new food, only to watch him reject it after a bite. I would get disheartened but I learnt to have patience. Dr. Khosla mentioned that it takes 8-25 attempts to develop a taste for something new! She suggested giving a gap of a few days and offering the same food in a different way.

Dr. Indu Khosla sharing tips on introducing new food to children at the Pediasure #TimeToGrow event

Dr. Indu Khosla sharing tips on introducing new food to children at the Pediasure #TimeToGrow event


8. Making the food kid-friendly: 

If there is a particular food your child refuses to eat, think about changing up the way it is served. I used “kid-friendly” meals to introduce many foods:

  • Soups, parathas, tikkis and khichdi are the easiest ways tointroduce vegetables
  • Smoothies with fruits, dry fruits, milk are are a powerhouse of nutrition
  • You can get really innovative with some healthy and tasty snacks – roasted makhanas, oats / ragi pancakes, mixed beans dip with pita
  • Make food look exciting. I use cookie cutters to make fancy tikkis and dosas. Or get innovative with plating – pancake lion with grape eyes, banana ears and apple mane.
How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food - Baby & Beyond

Make the food look kid-friendly


9. Allowing treats but not in between meals: 

A few chips or a cookie aren’t really going to harm him as long as I monitor when and how much he eats. A good tip my pediatrician gave is never offer junk food as a snack, or they will end up eating lesser of the main So I give him a cookie if he asks for it, only after he has finished his meal. He feels satisfied and eats lesser of it because his stomach is full anyway.



10. Talking about the benefits of eating healthy: 

Now that my son is 4 years old, he understands a lot more about actions and consequences. I often talk to him about how eating healthy food will make him stronger. I talk to him in terms that of things that matter to him at this age – you will be have more power to play more, you won’t need to miss all the fun at school because you will be healthy, you will be strong like Papa and Mamma, etc.


What are some of the things you do to encourage your child to eat healthy? Share your tips in the comments below.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but the views expressed here are my own.

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  1. Gunjan said on May 28, 2018 11:34 pm:

    These are some wonderful tips Mahek, we too try eat healthy in front of T. I am sure he will soon pick up eating everything from his plate.

  2. Snehalata said on May 29, 2018 11:10 am:

    PediaSure is an amazing product which makes kids immuned and healthy and taste great

  3. Pratibha said on May 29, 2018 12:28 pm:

    I wish you had written this post 9 years ago! Would have made my journey as a parent more delightful! Love these tips. Bookmarking it to share with a few would-be moms I know!!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on May 29, 2018 12:31 pm:

      Thank you Pratibha

  4. Alpana Deo said on May 29, 2018 4:58 pm:

    Really helpful tips. Developing healthy eating habits is something every parent struggles at some point of time. But by being little bit disciplined, setting a meal time routine goes a long way.

  5. Ankita said on May 30, 2018 12:01 am:

    Very well articulated Mahak!
    I agree with all the points you have mentioned and practise them too.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on May 30, 2018 8:56 am:

      Thank you Ankita

  6. Charu said on May 30, 2018 12:10 am:

    Quite useful tips! Family meal time is the most imp. That really works for us. Kids usually get interested in food when they see us eating the same joyfully!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on May 30, 2018 8:56 am:

      Completely agree Charu

  7. Pradnya Salve said on May 30, 2018 1:57 am:

    Such a detailed post. And yes I agree patience is the key to handle kids especially meal times

  8. Ruchi Verma said on May 30, 2018 12:28 pm:

    I loved the points covered by you!! perfectly written each and every point. I too agree that patience is really important when it comes to kids.

  9. Batul said on May 31, 2018 1:22 pm:

    The topic itself raised my interest levels.Nothing beats being a role model where food is concerned.Thanks for such awesome tips

  10. Sneha said on June 1, 2018 11:47 pm:

    Very well written post thanks for such amazing tips will try to incorporate them

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 2, 2018 9:26 am:

      Thank you…all the best!

  11. Kavita Singh said on June 4, 2018 11:05 am:

    This is going to be a lifesaver. My fussy eater would not eat anything without tantrums, I am definitely going to follow points from this.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 4, 2018 11:14 am:

      Hope these tips help Kavita

  12. Surbhi Mahobia said on June 4, 2018 11:42 pm:

    My elder one is slowly turning into a fussy eater. Her food choices are evolving and changing now. She demands variety and newer foods. Will try some of your tips, especially asking her food choices before prepping her meals. Thanks for sharing, Mahak.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 5, 2018 7:40 am:

      Hope these tips help. All the best!

  13. Dipika Singh said on June 5, 2018 7:54 pm:

    Beautifully articulated post Mehak, These are quite handy tips to keep in tag for well balanced growth of child.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 5, 2018 8:34 pm:

      Thank you Dipika

  14. Ananta Goyal said on June 6, 2018 3:24 pm:

    These tips are going to see me right through summer. Thanks a ton.

  15. Miss Harshala said on June 7, 2018 12:10 pm:

    These are some really helpful tips mommy! Surely implementing them!

  16. Manjusha said on June 12, 2018 4:11 pm:

    Patience is the key my dear mumma. Inspite of trying everything possible I literally had to wait until my child was ready to try new things on his own. Loved the interesting tips you have shared