Teaching Kids to Eat Healthily

Kids are stubborn when eating something that they don’t like, even if that food item contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients they require.

For instance, if you sneak broccoli in your kid’s meal and they find out, they are likely to throw a tantrum turning the family dinner upside down.

It’s frustrating, but parents have to ensure that their kids eat healthily to improve their overall physical and cognitive growth & development. If you are struggling with this task, then fret not, as here are a few tried and tested methods that will help you to teach your kids to eat more healthily.

Tips on How to Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthily

1. Be a role model

You and the environment around them highly influence your kids. Parents have to be good role models so that the child inculcates eating right more promptly. For example, if your kids see you stress eating junk foods at odd times, they are bound to imitate you and develop eating patterns that could affect their health. As such, you need to start eating healthily, and they’ll surely follow suit.

2. Eat as a family

It is said that kids in a happier environment usually have a wholesome diet. Eating as a family can be fun and an enjoyable time. During family time, you could encourage them to eat more fruits and veggies, and even if your kid is a little hesitant about it, he or she will at least give it a try, which is akin to half-the-battle-won.

3. Don’t identify food as good or bad

Negative remarks about food in front of your child can lead them to food-shaming other kids. Instead, you could develop innovative ideas to tell them which food items are rich in nutrients and vice versa. Try not to restrict your kids from eating anything; rather, you could limit their consumption if a particular food is not good for their health. Also, always opt for healthy snacks instead of spending money on junk foods.

Teaching Kids to Eat Healthily

Encourage them to eat  more fruits and veggies

Reduce their sugar intake, including candies and chocolates and sugary sodas

4. Give them choices

Make your kids actively participate while preparing their plates. Give them choices as no one likes to be forced while eating. You can involve them while making dinner. You can tell them which vegetable or fruit contains more nutrients. If they’re old enough, you can ask them to make something simple such as a salad. This will help you teach your kids what food items are good and, more precisely, why it is good for them, which would help them choose the right meal.

5. Reduce their sugar intake

This includes candies and chocolates and sugary sodas, and unhealthy desserts. An increase in sugar consumption at an early age can lead to obesity and cause oral health problems. There are simple ways to reduce sugar consumption that you can try, beginning with adding fruits to deserts, replacing sweeten beverages with fresh fruit smoothies, among others. Replacing candies with a snack bar is a good option. Likewise, there are many other food items that you can include in your kid’s diet to curb sugar cravings.

6. Limit their TV/mobile time while eating

Parents often make their kids sit in front of the TV as a distraction while eating food, but this could turn into a habit. Having dinner while watching TV can make your child develop an unhealthy eating habit and also reduce his/her metabolism. Thus, parents should schedule their kids’ TV breaks wisely while also limiting smartphones during meals.

7. Don’t force but motivate

If you pressurize your child into eating, you may have to tone it down as it can have negative consequences, especially for picky eaters. The more you force them, the more they will refuse to eat. This would make them lose interest in eating and affect parent-child bonding, causing stress. As mentioned above, give them choices instead of forcing and try encouraging them. It would take time to form a habit, but the key is never to give up.

8. Consult with your doctor

Did you notice that your child has been gaining or losing weight very fast or developing unhealthy eating habits? Confused about preparing a nutritious meal for your child that he/she can eat and enjoy? If the answer to these questions is yes, then consult with a pediatrician immediately. The doctor will help you figure out the problems and offer suggestions on how to improve your child’s eating habits.

9. Stop rewarding them with unhealthy food items

Some parents are guilty of rewarding their children with candies for eating their veggies. This process can backfire, as your kids may come to detest vegetables. So, stop this practice immediately. Also, don’t store snacks and candies in your house, as it creates unnecessary temptation. If your child is hungry, it better that he/she reaches out to eat fresh fruits than munching on snacks that offer zero nutrients.

10. Soy-based Foods

Most soy-based foods have certain compounds that affect fertility in women. It contains plant-driven estrogen, known as isoflavones. This reduces your chance of getting pregnant. If you are too fond of having soy products and can’t avoid them, then look for alternatives that increase your chances of conception.

To Sum Up,

These are some of the ways to make sure that your kids eat healthily. There are other ways to plan the dinner menu with your kids, engage them in cooking, make a weekly dinner schedule, etc., that will help develop healthy eating habits. However, to achieve success in this endeavor, you need to introduce these practices from an early age, so it won’t be difficult for your kids to adjust to them.

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