Hooray, it’s summer! That probably means you’ll have more downtime and less (or no) school work for a while. It may also mean your kids (and maybe you, too!) will have more time for snacking and might be tempted to fall into unhealthy eating habits.
Sometimes we moms simply lose the energy and patience needed to encourage our kids to eat healthier foods and avoid eating so much junk food and so many sweets. It’s a tough job!! That’s why I hope you’ll enjoy these simple tips for encouraging good eating habits in your kids.
Simple Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Your Kids
Most of us introduce our children to fruits and vegetables when they’re just barely old enough to eat baby food or table food. And our children usually do enjoy plain old fruits and veggies–until they get old enough to notice what everyone else is eating! After all, kids usually think of food as fun or comfort. They don’t often think of food as simply a way of satisfying hunger or of getting the nutrition they need. (To be honest, we moms don’t always think of food that way, either!)
FINISH THIS ARTICLE. MAYBE USE SOME IDEAS FROM https://summertomato.com/2013/06/05/11-proven-ways-to-get-kids-to-eat-more-vegetables/
Forcing children to eat vegetables (or any other food) is not the answer to making them eat right. In fact, doing so only makes them averse to those foods.
While you can encourage them to try a spoonful, there is no need to lose sleep or get upset if they refuse to eat it.
Mentioned ahead are a few tips that can help you get your children to eat healthy.
1. Take Your Kids Shopping
Your children will take more interest in the meal they eat if you involve them in its preparation. Because most of us no longer live near farms, you need to take them to the farmer’s market or the grocery store the next time you shopping for produce.
Let them take a look at all the fresh vegetables and fruits around them and even pick a couple of them to cook for dinner; and you’re sure to get them excited about eating them.
You could also start a kitchen garden and teach them about planting and harvesting their own produce.
2. Don’t Be Too Strict
Don’t turn into food police and monitor everything that your kids eat. Be flexible and allow them to eat everything in moderation. This is essential if you want your children to build a healthy relationship with different foods.
While parents work hard on making the healthiest choices for their children all the time, a cookie a day balanced with healthy foods won’t cause damage. In fact, doing so will make eating a joyful experience and will help your children associate positively with food.
3. Make Meal Times Special
In order to make the meal special, you need to make meal time special. It makes sense to make eating meals a family affair – a time for everyone to get together at the dining table, sit down and savor the food.
You can talk about the goings on in the lives of every family member, or about a movie you saw together recently, or simply about a book you’re reading. You can talk/discuss anything as long as you don’t start arguing about it.
Additionally, depending on your children’s age, get them to help you with mealtime chores, setting the dining table, putting out the table cloth and napkins, arranging the dishes, the cutlery and the glasses, and later helping you get them off the table.
4. Introduce New Foods Gradually
Present a healthy new dish each week along with one or two familiar foods. The idea is to replace the unhealthy food that your children may be consuming with wholesome choices such as salads, soups, fruits and healthy desserts.
If your kids reject the new food the first time they try it, do not give up. Remember, children often need to try new foods several times before they actually start liking it.
5. Let Your Kids Decide How Hungry They Are
Don’t force your kids to eat when they’re not hungry. And avoid pressurizing them to continue eating even after they’re full. Sometimes, kids don’t feel hungry at meal times. So, if they want to skip a meal occasionally because they’re feeling full, it won’t harm them.
It makes sense to serve small portions of food (they can always ask for more) when they get hungry between meals and to feed them healthy snacks such as steamed/sautéed vegetables, nuts, chopped fruits, granola, and so on.
6. Make Eating Fresh a Priority
While cooking fresh meals everyday can get quite challenging, it can also be one of the most rewarding things you can do for your family. By doing so, you automatically strike the unhealthy food items off the menu, and ensure that you and your children eat fresh and healthy foods at every meal.
If you just cannot seem to make the time to cook healthy every day, but want to avoid eating at restaurants or order takeout, you can get delicious and nutritious meals delivered to your doorstep. Thanks to healthy meal providers such as FreshnLean, you and your family can eat tasty and freshly cooked meals every day.
7. Let Them Help You in the Kitchen
If they helped you cook it, there is a high possibility that they’ll eat it too. You will do well by welcoming your children into the kitchen and letting them perform safe and easy tasks like cleaning the carrots, snapping beans, laying out pizza toppings, mixing the salad with the dressing, stirring the batter, mashing potatoes, and so on.
8. Sneak in the Healthy Stuff
If your kids refuse to eat certain vegetables, you can sneak them into other dishes they like. If they don’t like milk, try making a milkshake with their favorite fruit. If they loathe broccoli, you could chop it up and stuff it into their ravioli. By doing so, you will no longer have to worry about their nutrient intake.
9. Lead by Example
Kids often tend to imitate their parents as role models. So there is a high chance that your children will emulate your eating habits. So if you want them to eat healthy, begin by choosing healthy foods over unhealthy ones yourself.
Kids tend to eat better when they share a healthy relationship with food. Inculcating good eating habits is, no doubt, an uphill climb for parents. Involving them in the process of sourcing and cooking the food can go a long way in getting them interested in what’s served on the dining table. Apart from that, being a good role model by making sound choices about the food you eat can also leave a lasting impression on your children’s idea of good eating. The above tips should help you in getting your children to eat healthy and love it.