Inspiring kids to have an interest and appetite for healthy food can be a struggle for parents and caregivers. But with your patience, understanding and a bit of creativity, your kids can learn about good nutrition – and have fun while doing so.
Here are some techniques that will help you develop healthy eating habits in your kinds:
1. Start early
Begin teaching your kids good eating habits once you start feeding them solid foods. Include a variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein in their diet based on recommended foods by age. Kids who are exposed to different flavors and textures are often more adventurous when it comes to exploring new foods.
With the advice of your pediatrician, offer your kids raw fruits and unseasoned vegetables so their taste buds can get used to the taste of natural food. This will allow your kids to enjoy fresh fruits as they are, and not covered with sugar and other artificial flavorings that won’t do anything good for their health.
2. Give them the “power” to choose
When grocery shopping, allow your kids to pick out the fruits and vegetables they want to eat. Learn about the nutrients each product contains and share these details with your kids. Explain to them the importance of these nutrients and how they help make one’s body healthy. Such discussions are also a good opportunity to introduce them to the five foods groups for children.
Think of ways to educate your kids in a fun way. Avoid preaching since most children (regardless of their age) won’t listen or pay attention to this method of teaching. You can go online to find expert-approved ideas on helping kids make better food choices.
3. Grow an edible garden
If you have a lawn or backyard, you can start an edible garden. If you lack the space, you can grow certain types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in containers, your balcony or on a sunny windowsill.
Involve your kids in choosing the plants you will grow. Allow them to be hands-on with the planting and growing process, too. Your children will certainly look forward to the time when they can finally harvest and even cook these veggies and fruits.
4. Get them cooking
Preparing and cooking food together can be a great bonding experience for you and your children. It is also a timely opportunity to teach them about good nutrition.
When you allow your kids to help out and participate in food-related tasks, you’ll often find them more receptive to trying out the new fare. They will be more willing and even excited about tasting a dish when they helped create it.
5. Make healthy the easier choice
Your kids will more likely go for that bag of chips on top of the kitchen counter instead of the trailer mix hidden inside the cupboard. As such, make sure to store sugary and salty snacks in areas that kids won’t easily see and reach.
To get your children to eat more fruits and vegetables, place these healthy treats in highly visible and easily accessible areas. Park ready-to-serve carrot sticks and cheeses in the chiller. Freeze fresh fruit and veggie slices for smoothies and stock them properly in transparent containers so that your kids can quickly grab them whenever they crave for something cool and refreshing.
6. Be a role model
Lastly, your kids will pick up healthy eating habits easily and quickly if they see you practicing these habits. If you always eat vegetables and fruits and make healthy eating choices at home and in restaurants, your kids will follow your example.
Make sure other adults in the household uphold healthy eating as well. When your kids are surrounded by people who eat well, they will intuitively pick these habits up and make them their own.
Instilling good eating habits in your kids is an ongoing commitment. But by employing the correct strategies, you can teach your little ones to eat healthy today and in the years to come.