All parents want their kids to eat healthy, and try to get them to start young. That’s because the habits they develop when they’re little are what they will carry forward with themselves as adults. These are the habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.
It is, therefore, crucial to instill good eating habits in your children and expose them to healthy foods so that they opt for those by default as they keep growing and developing.
Plus, because it is mostly you, the parent, who is in control of what your kids eat while they’re still young, you need to guide them towards developing such habits. If you teach them the importance of eating nutritional foods now, they will continue to eat them when they get older.
We all know what kids do when they’re hungry. They simply head to the refrigerator or the pantry, pick up the first thing they see and like and eat it. It is, therefore, important that you store healthy snacks or foods in your fridge, to curb your children’s access to junk food. Doing so will help them pick healthy snacks habitually.
2. Don’t Ban Junk Food Completely
Rather than banning junk food completely from your children’s lives, limit the number of treats that they’re allowed to eat each day. That way, your kids will not be as tempted to eat what they cannot have.
Banning food does not make good sense as those foods may be available to them outside your home. If they get their hands on them, they could continue to consume them despite feeling full, which can result in the habit of overeating.
It is best that parents help their children develop a healthy relationship with food and not use it as punishment or reward.
3. Encourage Them to Eat Fruits and Vegetables at Dinner
In case you cannot cook meals at home, be sure to engage healthy-meal providing services such as FreshnLean to get fresh, delicious and nutritional food delivered to your doorstep. That way you and your family need not eat restaurant-brought processed food, but enjoy nourishing wholesome meals instead.
It is important that your children know when they’re beginning to feel full and consequently stop eating. Never force them to finish everything on their plate.
Tell them to eat as much as they want at that time, and save the leftovers on their plate for when they get hungry later.
You may sometimes feel like they haven’t eaten enough, yet allow them to stop eating when they start to feel full. Otherwise there is a risk of developing the habit of eating even when they’re not hungry, which may lead to obesity.
5. Teach Them to Respect Meal Timings
Teach your children to respect and stick to meal times, in order to keep them from nibbling on unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
While eating the three meals of the day is extremely important, most kids can also eat two snacks every day. If you’re worried that your kids aren’t getting enough nutrition, you will do well to consult a nutritionist.
Your children may sometimes say they’re not hungry during a particular meal time, but do not force them to eat. And do not let them compensate for the meal by eating cookies, chips or candy. Instead, give them healthier alternatives such as chopped fruits, or nuts to make sure they get their nutrients.
6. Try, Try Till You Succeed
You may already know that children sometimes take a while before they start liking a particular food. Hence, don’t be disheartened if your kids reject certain vegetables the first time. Offer it many times in different forms and you never know, they may end up loving it.
7. Lead by Example
You may have found your children imitating your behavior several times at home. This implies that they may also be picking up your eating behaviors and patterns. It is, therefore, important that before you tell them to choose healthy food options, you demonstrate this behavior yourself.
Let them know how eating fresh and nutritious food will help them stay in good health. Eat your meals with your children and let them see how much you enjoy eating your fruits and vegetables. Make meal times fun by trying new foods together.
8. Cook Together
Allow them to add their special touch to the food as well. Let them help you with washing the vegetables, mashing the potatoes, mixing the dough, adding the pizza toppings, and so on. This will increase their interest in the art of healthy cooking.
9. Teach Them to Read Labels
Teaching your children to read labels on food packets and the importance of doing so is very important as this is one habit that will be helpful to them throughout their lives. Take them to the grocery store with you and teach them how to choose their food – packaged or fresh.
If you always allow your kids to eat unhealthy, it may become a habit, which can be really hard to change, especially if your children become comfortable with such eating patterns. That does not mean you do not let them tuck into their favorite foods every once in a while. The focus should be to make fresh and healthy foods a dominant part of their diet. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll surely raise kids with healthy eating habits who appreciate the value of good eating.