Teaching Your Children Healthy Eating Habits
September, 2017
The eating habits of our children can be a constant worry. Not only can they be fickle eaters, but they can also be drawn towards fast food and sweets. While there’s nothing wrong with a child having a treat, parents are often looking for ways to steer children in the right direction when it comes to the food they consume. Fear not, as there are a series of tips you can follow to ensure that the world of food a more exciting place for children.
Involve Your Children
Children who build models or win at their favourite game have a sense of accomplishment. The same methodology can be applied to food. Simply involving your children with the preparation process makes them more likely to eat the finished product, and insist that other siblings taste it too.
Freedom of Choice, Within Reason
If you have more than one child, asking them what they would like to eat is asking for trouble. But approached in the right way, it does allow your child some independence. This means that they are more likely to eat their food, and enjoy it more since they were part of the decision-making process. An example of this could be a homemade pizza. You could make a standard base for each child, and allow them to choose from some pre-selected toppings. It’s also ideal for adding a healthy twist to food normally labelled as junk food.
Tell Your Children Where Their Food Comes From
Education doesn’t have to be boring, especially when it’s in relation to food. The journey certain foods take to arrive on our plate can be interesting and exciting, especially to a child. A visit to a farm shows the younger generation how the milk they drink is produced, while picking berries allows them to appreciate some of the delicious food nature has to offer.
Promote Healthier Alternatives
While we should try to refrain from becoming a nag in relation to food, counteracting your child’s snack choice with some healthier alternatives can be a great way of introducing a healthier diet for your children. For example, instead of crisps, you could persuade them with some tortilla chips and a dip, which could be prepared by both you and the child. You may not always get the desired result, but it will peak your child’s interest to learn that there are other treats that they’ve not tried.
Sit Down as a Family to Eat
Nowadays, finding any time in the day can be difficult, especially if you’re working and trying to raise children. However, if you find your children leave most of their meal, it may be worth making a point of sitting down together. This means that you can monitor your children discreetly, while answering any concerns with the meal they are eating.
Make Smoothies Together
There’s no denying that children love mixing things together, so why not use this to your advantage to create some healthy smoothies. You can educate your child on the certain ingredients. After a few sessions, you’ll find that you child a smoothie mentor, often coming up with exciting new ideas for their next creation.
Practice What You Preach
Telling our children to eat healthily is one thing, but they’re more likely to do so if you follow suit. All parents and guardians are role models to their children, so it makes sense that we set an example when it comes to healthy eating. The fact of the matter is, if we’re not willing to maintain a healthy diet, then it’s difficult for us to persuade children to do so.
Promote the Benefits
If a child is used to a certain food, they may not want to try anything else as they are only choosing food based on the taste and familiarity. However, if you’re well-versed in the benefits of the food you want your child to consume, then this can be a major selling point when promoting healthier options to children. Some of the benefits associated with healthy eating as a child include brain development, a strong healthy growth and the avoidance of future health issues.
Don’t Introduce New Food If Your Child is Unwell
If our child falls ill, it’s natural for us to make sure they are consuming foods that hold a series of benefits, but this will be fruitless if the child is unwell. This is because they can pair the experience with how they feel, often making them steer away from a particular type of food moving forward.
Make Sure There Are Plenty of Healthy Snacks About
Children love to snack, and will generally aim towards biscuits and crisps. However, this isn’t to say they wouldn’t be swayed by something a little healthier. With this in mind, you should ensure that there are plenty of healthy snacks about should your child become peckish. Examples include yoghurt, nuts and berries and fruit. You could even make your own fruit bags alongside your children.
Getting your children on the right path can be difficult sometimes, and there will be times when they simply will not budge on what they want to eat. But being able to approach the problem from different directions puts you in a much better position for success.