6 Tips to Eating Clean With Kids

healthy kids lunch box
Alita Ong/Stocksy United

Eating clean is a hot topic in the health world these days. What does it really meant to eat clean? And who wouldn’t want to eat cleaner? But besides the term being a bit ambiguous, how do we even attempt it when we’ve got kids to feed, too?

First up, eating clean. This term refers to more than just the hygienic cleanliness of our food. The term “eating clean” refers to avoiding processed foods and focusing on whole foods.

That sounds simple enough. But when it comes right down to it, the reality of eating mainly whole foods might take a few changes for the average family.

Here are a few tips to start cleaning up your family’s eating habits.

1. Talk about healthy changes together as a family.

If you want to make this a lifestyle, it’s best to get everyone on board. Focus on the health benefits: how great you will feel, how much energy you’ll have, how eating whole foods make our bodies healthy and strong. Don’t dwell on the things you’ll be cutting out. Make a plan and decide where to start together. 

2. Start slowly.

It’s easier to pick a few things to work on for a time than trying to change everything at once. Maybe start by adding more fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks. Once your family gets a taste for the yummy, healthy options, they won’t be so sad to see the processed choices disappear.

3. Find substitutions.

Taking away your child’s favorite snack might not be the best place to start, but rather find healthy, whole food options that they do enjoy first.

Then, ease out of those unhealthy choices. One tactic might be to simply let the processed snacks run out and not replenish them. One by one those unhealthy options will fade away and they will slowly be replaced by cleaner, whole food snacks. Getting your kids to brainstorm substitutions with you can also help them ease into healthy changes.

Here are a few great snack substitutions:

Processed Version

Whole Food Version

Fruit Snacks

Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries


Sparkling flavored waters

Potato Chips

Homemade pita chips and hummus

Store-bought granola bars

Homemade granola bars


4. Plan, plan, plan!

This sounds like a lot of work, but really in the long run meal planning saves time and energy. A big part of clean eating is avoiding fast foods and pre-prepared meals. By planning out meals and snacks, you can avoid the last minute decisions to eat out or grab something from the vending machine. After you’ve planned out those healthy meals and whole food snacks, make your list and hit the grocery store. Stocking your pantry and refrigerator with healthy options is the best place to start.

5. Prep your food.

Having healthy food on hand is the first step, but the next step to truly being successful is having your food prepped and ready to go. This means having fruits and vegetables washed and cut up, so they are ready to eat when needed.

A drawer in the fridge of healthy pre-portioned fruits and veggies is a great way to make snack time or making lunches a breeze. It’s also a great way to make sure all that produce you just bought actually gets eaten.

6. Keep the budget in mind.

Eating whole foods is an investment in your current and future health. But if we break the bank doing it, it’s not a habit that will last for long. If a tight food budget is a worry, here are a few tips:

  • Focus on eating seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep in mind organic isn’t always necessary.
  • Trendy “super foods” are great, but if chia seeds and goji berries don’t fit in your budget, don’t worry about it. Focus on those everyday fruits and veggies.
  • Don’t forget about frozen options. Frozen fruits and veggies have great nutritional content and are an economical way to add nutrition.

With these six tips, you’re on your way to eating cleaner and improving your family’s health one step at a time.

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