Good eating habits are not in-born; they have to be inculcated in an individual. Often, you become what you eat, and therefore for parents, it is extremely important that they pay special attention to their children’s diet. When kids are young, healthy eating habits can indeed be made part of their lifestyle easily, however parents have to make a few sacrifices to ensure that children take on the habits that they have planned for them.
If you want your kids to stay away from unhealthy aerated drinks and replenish their thirst by picking fresh fruit juices or water, that means, you have to do that too. They will watch you, and do as you do. If you wish for them to pick up an apple as a snack in between meals, instead of opening up the refrigerator and making themselves a greasy cheese grilled sandwich, well you too, will have to do the same.
Staying away from fatty, unhealthy food is not easy, it is tempting indeed and today when all of us are leading highly stressful lives, resorting to left overs or quick fixes in the kitchen comes easy, though this has a gravely negative impact on one’s health.
Cooking healthy food does not involve spending hours in the kitchen, a salad does not take too long too make. But, will your kids enjoy this salad? Do not worry, there are a million ways to make healthy food fun for kids. However, this is not an article on Healthy Foods, made fun for kids, but on the necessity of starting young when it comes to inculcating a healthy lifestyle in your children.
A few tips mentioned below will help your kids develop a positive relationship with healthy food. They will choose better and eat better when they are taught how to do so from the very beginning.
No Restrictions: When you restrict a child from eating something, there is a chance that it may affect them mentally and they will be at risk of developing eating disorders like Anorexia or Bulimia. Restricting foods can also affect their development.
Keep Healthy Food Within Arm’s Length: Growing children would rather spend hours playing in the backyard, than cooking themselves a treat in the kitchen. So, when they are hungry, they will run into the kitchen and grab what is closest to them. Do not leave packets of chips on the kitchen counter or blue berry muffins on the kitchen table. Instead a bowl of fresh fruits that your child can easily reach into will really help.
No Labels: No food is bad when eaten in moderation. However, when kids start enjoying a certain kind of food, they might over do it, and therefore you have to teach them how to identify which foods will help them and which foods will not. Also, helping them associate foods with things that they care about will allow them to develop a positive reaction towards healthy foods. For instance, you could tell them that the calcium in milk and lean protein meats like turkey help tremendously with spectacular sports performance. Your daughter will devour fresh fruits and green vegetables when you tell her that the antioxidants in these amazing fruits and veggies will make her skin glow and hair shine.
A Pat on the Back: Sometime, just to have some fun, and check whether your efforts have paid off, you could let them decide what they want to have for dinner, or a quick snack when they come back from hours of play in the backyard. When they choose a healthy alternative, you should reward them with a pat on the back and a proud smile on your lips.
Don’t Force: Forcing children into eating healthy foods is not going to help. If your children continue to insist on eating foods that are fried and have no health benefits, you should not nag them, but develop ideas that make healthy food fun for them. A little bit of cheese and some chocolate once in a while are not going to drastically affect their health.
Food as a Reward?: A lot of parents will treat their children to ice cream when they do something that they are proud of. However, instead of using food as a reward, treat them to something that does not contribute towards developing weight problems. A trip to their favorite aquarium or a movie is a better idea.
Eat together: If eating dinner together at the table is not a habit, try and make it one as research suggests that children who have grown up eating with their parents are more likely to make nutritious choices when it comes to food.
Consult a holistic nutritionist: Though you may eat healthy, and may know how to distinguish unhealthy food from healthy food, your kids need the right amount of nutrition and that’s why it is important that you consult a holistic nutritionist first. This will help you understand your kid’s nutrition needs before you lay down rules that they will hopefully live by.