How to inculcate healthy eating habits in children?
Children are hugely influenced by their environment—this includes culture, media and family. Parental influence is especially important. Parents’ attitudes and habits around food can lead to healthy or disordered eating. It’s important to remember that your kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza and a dislike for broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as they’re exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is possible to reprogram your children’s food preferences, so that they crave healthier foods instead of highly processed junk foods. But switching to a healthy diet can have a profound effect on your child’s health, helping them to maintain a healthy weight, stabilize their moods, sharpen their minds, and avoid a variety of health problems.
The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious choices into a child’s diet, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last them a lifetime. 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 war zone and give your kids the best opportunity to grow into healthy, well-balanced adults.
Few tricks up your sleeve for getting kids to eat healthy.
Be a role model- The child always looks up to their parents, and imitates them, so don’t ask your child to eat vegetables while you gorge on potato chips.
⦁ Expose children to a variety of healthy foods.
⦁ Praise them when they opt for healthy foods.
⦁ Make sure others around the child eat nutritiously as well.
Make healthy snacks available- Keep plenty of fruit, vegetables, healthy snacks and wholesome foods available on hand, so kids avoid unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, and sugary or refined foods.
Get kids involved– Next time when you go grocery shopping take your kids along. That way you can teach them about healthy foods and how to read food labels. Kids will automatically eat food that they shopped for happily.
Give your kids more home-cooked food- Restaurant and takeout meals have more added sugar and unhealthy fat, so cooking at home can have a huge impact on your kid’s health, so cook them fresh home-cooked meals that they can relish.
Cooking together- Get your child involved in cooking with you. This is when you can introduce healthy foods to them and make them aware of eating mindfully.
Making mealtime family time – Making time to sit down as a family to eat a home-cooked meal not only sets a great example for kids about the importance of healthy food, it can bring a family together, even moody teenagers love to eat tasty, home-cooked meals! Gathering the family around a table for a meal is an ideal opportunity to talk and listen to your kids without the distraction of TV, phones, or computers.
Offer choices- No one likes to be forced to do something, especially high-spirited toddlers or older kids looking to establish their independence. This principle holds true at the kitchen table, too. The little foodie in your kitchen might really enjoy meal planning as well.
Snacking the smarter way- Snacks are a fact of life for kids as well as adults but it’s important to snack smartly, so that doesn’t hamper your health. Remember to keep snack portion sizes small for children. Avoid snacking close to major meal times, as it results in a drop in appetite.