How to Help Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Peer pressure and TV commercials for junk food can make getting your kids to eat well an uphill struggle. Factor in your own hectic schedule and it’s no wonder so many kids’ diets are built around convenience and takeout food. But switching to a healthy diet can have a profound effect on children’s health, helping to stabilize their energy, sharpen their minds, and even out their moods. And it can be simpler and less time-consuming than you imagine. With these tips, you can instill healthy eating habits without turning mealtimes into a battle zone and give your kids the best opportunity to grow into healthy, confident adults.
You can help your child develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits. As a parent, you can encourage your kids to evaluate their food choice and physical activity habits. Here are some tips and guidelines to get you started.
Be a good role model, Setting a great example is key. Kids will follow your lead. So, if you get excited about trying new fruits and vegetables, your kids will be excited about trying them too. If you are sitting there thinking that green beans are the worst thing on the planet, they are going to say it, and you will hear it for the rest of their lives, and so, it is very important to get excited about it and to set a good example. If they see you choosing that apple instead of the chips for a snack, they are going to want to follow your lead.
Keep things positive, Kid’s don’t like to hear what they can’t do, tell them what they can do instead. Keep it fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
What child does not love to snack? It is important to make sure that you have healthy snacks available that are going to actually help keep their tummy filled. So, when they grab that bag of chips or that 100‑calorie pack, even if it is a good portion size, it is still not going to keep them full like an apple or something high in fiber would.
Fruits and vegetables make great snacks and you can put peanut butter with trail mix on top of them or different fruits, even fat-free cream cheese, Greek yogurt. You can make fun dips. Hummus is a great thing to get kids involved with to try. You can make a baked potato bar with low-fat cheese and salsa and Greek yogurt, and they can top it, or you could even do different smoothies. Kids love to throw different fruits and vegetables and see the colors change in the smoothies. If you want to do some prepackage snacks, it is important to work on portion sizes with kids and make sure they just get like a handful and then if they are still hungry, go back for a fruit or a vegetable.
Getting your kids involved in the preparation of meals, we know that kids get excited when they are involved in the kitchen. They are more likely to try the foods if they were involved in the cooking process. Even having them pick out a new recipe or take them to the grocery store and have them pick out a new fruit or a vegetable. You can even take them to a farmer’s market where they can interact with some of the farmers or to a farm, and they can pick out new produce, see where it comes from, and they will get more excited about trying it. Even eating the rainbow having them pick out different colors that they want to try or what colors they want to add to their plate that night. If it is age-appropriate, getting them involved in the cutting, peeling, washing all of that is great to you. Having to practice these few simple steps will drastically change the eating habits of the kids. As it is both interesting and fun at the same time, and with that comes a healthy living family lifestyle.