A common concern I hear from parents is that their children don’t like healthy food. The simple truth is that kids are more likely to eat foods that they help to shop for and help to prepare. The healthiest little eaters I know are the ones who are involved in family meal planning and food preparation.

My own children absolutely love going to the farmers’ market to shop for fresh, local food (not to mention the yummy samples) and to form relationships with the people who grow the things that nourish us through the week. Helping to shop and plan meals makes them much more interested in cooking and eating healthy foods. My girls will dive right into a crisp, locally-grown salad, a sweet squash picked from a nearby farm and succulent grass-fed beef raised humanely right here in Colorado!

As your children experiment with new foods, remind them to keep trying! Research shows that it takes kids an average of 13 times to like a savory food. (It’s no surprise that the same research shows that children like sweet foods on the first try.)

Few things are as important and raising children who appreciate and acquire a taste for fresh, local, real food. Eating real food is critically important for becoming a healthy adult. And it’s a lot easier to raise healthy eaters from the start than to try and wean a unhealthy teenager off of junk food and soda.

During this holiday season, I recommend choosing a few healthy treat recipes and inviting your children to join you in the kitchen. Experiment with real food sweeteners like dates and bananas. Most kids are amazed at how wonderful baked goods taste without sugar! Here’s one of my favorite healthy treat recipes. These muffins are sugar-free, gluten-free, contain vegetables and, most importantly, are delicious! Until next time, make every bite count!