It doesn't hurt to have your kids try "fancier" foods. The trick is to just make it and not say a word or make a big deal about it. My kids are great eaters and are thin. Why? Because they didn't just eat kid-friendly food like hot dogs and fries. (I don't mean to imply that's what you're kids eat, I just see it so much with my kids friends).
They are older now (15 and 12) and the only drawback to this way of eating is going to a restaurant. They haven't ordered off of a kids menu in years. Kids menu's are notorious for having poor food choices like grilled cheese or hot dogs. Since they were little, my kids have ordered stuffed flounder, broiled scallops, veal parm or prime rib just to name a few. I'd rather pay full price for a meal they'll eat than make them order off of the kids menu and pay for a meal they won't eat.
My nephew ate ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread for lunch and dinner until he was 12. She would pack him a "lunch" to eat even on Christmas. He never ate what we were eating. My sis-in-law said he wouldn't eat anything else. One Christmas morning, my brother made eggs benedict for us. We were all shocked when my nephew said he wanted to try it. He ate a whole one and asked for more. My SIL turns to him and says... "That's the drippy white part of the egg that you don't like." He then said... "No more, I don't like this." Amazing, huh? The power we have over our children with our words. I took him out to eat once and let him order what he wanted and he order steak and ate it all. When I told my SIL she said he was just being polite and that he didn't like anything but ham and cheese. I later found out that she told him he didn't like anything because that was what her mom did to her!!
My cousin is always amazed that my kids eat the way that they do and that they are thin. Her daughter is overweight (she's 9) and won't eat healthy food at all. She called me to see how to help her lose weight. I told her to stop buying junk and just buy more fresh fruit and healthier snacks. I also told her not to say anything about the change. I found out later that she sat my niece down and told her she was putting her on a diet. My niece cried for two weeks and refused to do it!! I wanted to smack my cousin. Anyway, my niece has since lost some weight simply because she got taller.
I just truly believe that kids will eat what is put in front of them as long as a huge fuss isn't made and no attention is brought to it. Make it just another meal.
Congrats on aiming towards a healthy lifestyle!! I am jealous because I actually despise cooking so my hubby does it all.
Anyhoo... the point of my post was to say that I saw a great book on healthy crock pot cooking but cannot for the life of me remember what it is called. Crock pots are the best... just throw the food in, turn it on and that's it!!
Have a great day!!