Once kids develop comfortable routines, it is very difficult to change their minds. The same goes for their eating habits. For this reason, you need to keep unhealthy foods away. Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight and avoid health problems so teach them about healthy eating habits early in life. Parents play a key role in developing healthy diet habits in their children which will help them to get fit and healthy. Developing healthy eating habits in your children at an early age is very important as this can help to protect them against obesity.
Below are 6 ways of teaching kids how to eat healthily
1. Encourage your kids to make smart eating choices in school
Half the time, your kids will be in class, and chances are, you do not know what they are eating while at school. The best way to make sure your kids develop healthy eating habits is to pack their school bags with healthy homemade meals and snacks. Alternatively, you can go over the school lunch menu with your kids. Schools generally print out their monthly lunch menu. Sit with your kids, and challenge them to identify the healthiest options on the school’s lunch menu. When you do this regularly, your kids will naturally develop healthy eating habits.
2. Do not outright ban junk food
Once kids get their first taste of junk food, they will always want more. If you want your kids to eat healthily, you will have to teach them to gradually let go of junk food. However, do not ban your kids from eating junk food. If you try to prevent them from doing something, they will do exactly what you prevent them from doing. Instead, limit their access to these foods. For example, feed them sweet treats, only once a week, rather than every day; that way, your kids’ desire for junk food will decrease over time.
3. Teach your kids about the calories in drinks
Although kids may be aware of the number of calories contained in unhealthy foods, they may not know that certain drinks are packed with empty calories that promote weight gain. For example, certain ice cream shakes sold by fast food restaurants, contain up to 900 calories (nearly half of the daily calorie intake suggested for most 9 to 13-year-old children).
To help your kids naturally to avoid unhealthy beverages, have them drink enough water and plain milk. The more water and plain milk they drink, the less they will be attracted to sugary beverages. If you have to give your kids more juice, make sure that the juice is organic, and is 100% fruit-based. In addition, mix the juice with water.
4. Fruit and vegetables as a snack
A family’s diet should include a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Eating vegetables or fruits at mealtime, or as a snack, offers a great opportunity to curb hunger and provide a greater feeling of fullness. This is certain to help reduce the intake of calories that are typically consumed during the course of a meal. Also, to make vegetables more appetizing, include side dips like hummus and low-fat vanilla yogurt.
5. Keep a strict eating schedule
When you and your kids keep a regular eating schedule that seldom changes, it will prevent your kids from snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the day. Moreover, when kids have a strict eating schedule, they are rarely hungry between meals. When your kids skip a meal, do not allow them to eat candy or chocolate in place of that meal. Instead, give them a healthy snack, such as an apple or a banana.
6. Be a role model for your kids
Teaching kids healthy eating habits is also easy when eating out at restaurants or on-the-go. Order the steamed or stir-fry dish in place of the fried foods, add mustard to sandwiches rather than mayonnaise, choose a light or low-fat dressing, and add a salad as a side dish to an order.
The sooner you teach your kids about healthy eating habits, the easier it will be for them to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. Rather than hiding unhealthy foods from your kids, teach them why these foods are not appropriate for them and soon they will learn to choose the right foods to eat healthily. Introduce multivitamin supplements if a child is picky about eating meals to avoid nutritional deficiency. Use this under your doctor’s guidance.
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, Success, and to help others succeed as well. Start a successful business doing something you love. Click here to find out more.