Dealing with children is no less than climbing mountains. For most parents, the day goes by chasing them, fulfilling their tantrums, and getting them to eat a healthy and nutritious diet. But is that easy? Not at all, especially the last one.
You would know the struggle if your child cherishes chips and burgers more than healthy veggies. Sadly, we are living in an age of cheese fries and burgers.
But we are no strangers to the fact that a healthy diet paves the way for a healthier future and a longer life, and that’s what we want for our children – to see them turn into healthy and smart individuals. But with a junk-food-dependent lifestyle, it’s a challenge.
But don’t you worry.? What are we there for? We’ll help you out. Here are a few tips that can help nurture healthy eating habits in children:
Limit eating out
It goes without saying, right? How ironic is it to want to develop healthy eating habits in kids and eat out frequently? Eating out every now and then is okay, but going out to dine every weekend because the weekend is finally here, doesn’t align with the goals here.
Instead of going to dine out, you can consider cooking delicious homemade meals on weekends. In fact, barbequing too is a good way to spend some family time on weekends. If you are opting for homemade deals, ensure you choose healthier alternatives.
For instance, instead of frying French fries, go for baked fries. In addition, you can swap smoothies for soft drinks, frozen yoghurt for ice creams and so on.
Let them learn by example
Children learn what they see. Whether it is language, eating or lifestyle habits. If you want them to develop healthy eating habits, you have to develop the same, so that they can learn by example.
A great place for you to start would be finishing your veggies if you don’t already. Perhaps you can involve your kid in it and finish your veggies together. You can even create a fun game where the one who finishes their veggies faster will win.
Make homemade meals interesting
Your kid will listen to their taste buds more than you. So, if you wish your child doesn’t submit to the temptation of having junk food, you have to make their everyday meals interesting.
You can explore new tasty recipes, and experiment with sauces and dips to make meals interesting and delicious. However, it’s also important to note that adding excess sauces can make a meal calorie-dense and unhealthy. Ensure that you keep a balance.
Pack their lunches
If you have a school-going kid, packing homemade meals for them is a good idea, rather than letting them eat at school. Without a homemade meal, they’ll probably eat junk food. Even if they eat canteen-made healthy lunches, you can’t trust the ingredients. So, it’s better if they have homemade lunches instead of canteen-made food.
Involve your children in grocery shopping
Here’s a downside of grocery shopping, you end up buying items you don’t even need. It is very common for us to stretch our hands for processed foods rather than opt for healthier options. And that’s what our kids do too.
Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your kid for grocery shopping. What you can do is, make lists and teach them to pick healthier alternatives instead of processed food. Also, you can encourage them to read labels by reading the labels together.
Teach them to cook
One day, your kids will grow up and will leave for studies or jobs. They will be on their own, you wouldn’t be around them to cook healthy meals for them. So, they’ll go for junk food or processed food.
Cooking is a survival skill that everybody needs to learn. Teaching your kids to cook would not only help them become independent but make healthier choices both in the present and the future.
Don’t reward them with treats
There will be times when your children would reach milestones, or do something good. In those instances, your instinct would be to reward them. However, if your goal is to inculcate healthy eating habits in them, ensure that you do not reward them with junk food.
For instance, refrain from rewarding your kids with ice cream when they finish their veggies. That defeats the purpose of healthy eating habits, doesn’t it?
A healthy diet is essential for your child’s growth and development. Instilling healthy eating habits in children is a crucial responsibility that lays the foundation for their lifelong well-being. By following these tips and incorporating them into your daily routine, you can create a positive food environment, encourage balanced meals, and foster a healthy relationship with food. Remember, patience, consistency, and leading by example are key to nurturing healthy eating habits in your children. By doing so, you are not only promoting their physical health but also setting them up for a lifetime of making nutritious choices and enjoying a happy, balanced life.