Every parent’s job includes making sure their kids learn how to eat healthy meals and maintain a healthy weight. But then, many kids are simply picky eaters. Some have a valid reason for this, especially if they have come to live with treating certain food allergies. As for other kids, they developed a love-hate relationship with food partly because they were not exposed early to healthy eating habits.
Thankfully, there is still hope. There are ways you can instill healthy eating habits in kids. If you are a first-time parent having a hard time teaching your kids to eat healthily, then these tips can help:
Eat Together as a Whole Family
Today’s parents are often busy professionals. Many households consist of both parents working in order to sustain the needs of the family. But know that it is crucial that families eat at least one meal together.
This is since eating together as a family encourages children to enjoy better nutrition. When you eat together, kids learn to pick up their eating habits. It becomes easier to encourage them to try different healthy food items if they also see you enjoying your food.
Make sure you prepare a variety of meals enjoyed by every single family member. Stock up on vegetables, and prepare multiple dishes to make it more colorful. Allow your little ones to lend a hand in making meals and walk them through how to best enjoy their meals.
Educate Your Kids
You may think that your little ones are too young to understand how nutrition works. But there are always ways you can incorporate healthy eating by educating them on how to best structure their meals. Let your kids know that enjoying a variety of healthy food items can make them stronger, feel better, and healthier.
Usually, a healthy meal consists of the following.
- Up to 50% of berries, greens, vegetables, fruits, and root vegetables
- Up to 25% of proteins (fish, egg, poultry, legumes, and the like)
- Up to 30% of whole-grain products (rice, oatmeal, pasta, bread)
- Up to 10% of fasts (nuts, seeds, unrefined oils)
- Plus one to two dairy items or plant-based alternatives with no added sugar
The problem with today’s world is that the market is bombarded with unhealthy options. Most foods are processed, contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, and even chemically-treated produce. You can help kids enjoy better nutrition with quality and organic products.
Your hectic schedule may tempt you to skip hearty homemade meals and turn to fast foods and junk foods. But remember that these food items are never good for your kid’s health. With a bit of meal prep and time management, you can whip up healthy meals even if you have a busy week ahead.
Take your kids grocery shopping and explain healthy food choices. Include their favorite healthy food into your list and plan your meals ahead of time. If your busy week starts on a Monday, make sure you already prepared for the family’s organic meals the night before for the whole week.
Encourage Kids to Prepare and Cook Food With You
The kitchen can be the perfect place to bond with your kids. While you’re at it, make sure to use this opportunity to teach them better food choices. You can do this by allowing them to help you out in preparing meals and cooking healthy food.
Teaching kids what it takes to create healthy scrumptious meals will make them appreciate your effort. Expect your next meal preps to be messy so make sure to prepare yourself to be a bit more patient. Answer their questions, incorporate their favorite food items, and experiment with new recipes.
Avoid Using Food as a Reward or Punishment
We often hear ourselves tell our kids that they can enjoy a treat if they behave or do well in certain tasks. Other parents will use food as punishment for misbehavior. While this may seem like a good way to limit kids’ dependency on their unhealthy comfort foods, this can actually have a bad impact on their nutrition in the long run.
Remember that there are better ways to say “I love you” than by using food as your way of showing love, affection, and discipline. Find other ways to discipline and show love with food. Use alternative rewards and punishments instead.
Kids need to learn how to eat healthy meals. The good news is, one does not require a degree in nutrition to ensure their kids eat right. The earlier you start teaching them this, the easier it will be to instill healthy eating habits.