I’ve had a few friends recently ask me how to get their kids to eat healthier. Building healthy habits when the kids are young is a great way to set them up for a lifetime of health. Looking at the current statistics, 4 out of 10 kids overweight and one in four teenagers have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. These statistics are alarming, and we, as parents, need to do something about it.

When you first start introducing solids to your baby, introduce them to an array of fruits and vegetables, quinoa, brown rice, and beans. Of course you need to follow the guidelines when introducing foods such as waiting three to five days before starting a new food to ensure they are not sensitive or allergic. Whether you make homemade baby food, or you buy it at the store, there are some really great recipes and jarred food for your little ones such as spinach, zucchini and peas, or beets, pear and pomegranate. Don’t be afraid to try something just because you ‘think’ they won’t like it. They may surprise you!

When your kids are a touch older, they may get curious about what you’re doing in the kitchen. I have a very curious little boy who always likes to see what I’m cooking. When I can, I’ll hold him and cook at the same time and explain what I’m doing. At 17 months old, he feels involved, important, and happy he gets to spend time with mama.

Let your kids measure ingredients and pour it in the bowl. This is something fun that they can be involved in, not to mention they can learn math skills by measuring!

Let your kids help plan the menu. By giving them options, they may think outside the box, want to try something new, or look forward to the meal!

It’s never to late to start teaching your kids about healthy meals and cooking. This is something they can take with them their whole life.