When it comes to kids and healthy eating, every mum has a story to share. Kids today are exposed to constant advertisements from fast and processed food companies, making attempts to stop them from gorging on junk harder than ever before. So instead of insisting they cut down on junk, why not take the more encouraging and positively reinforcing route of instilling healthier eating habits instead? Here are some ways to inspire better eating habits (that doesn’t come off as naggish!):
Lead by example
Kids pick up their parents’ habits. If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your kids will grow up thinking that this is acceptable. However, if they see you eating healthy food, they will naturally reach out for healthier options.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean that all junk is banned from consumption. A treat every once in a while, such as the occasional ice cream, burger or candy, can go a long way in teaching them moderation and discipline. Self-imposed restraint is empowering, but parent-insisted limits are “so uncool, mum!”
Get the kids to cook
Let your kids help out in the kitchen. Kids are naturally curious. When they become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll feel more intrigued by what goes in to each dish! Aside from learning about different types of food, kids usually prefer eating meals prepared by themselves too!
Breakfast is important
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ideally, it should also be the largest so that your kid will have the energy to start their day on the right foot. But like all other habits, it requires practice. Start small and gradually increase the amount. Always include a source of protein, healthy fats, whole wheat grains and vitamins and minerals whenever you can!
Healthy grab and go
Always keep healthy food on hand. Kids eat what’s available. If you keep lots of junk around, then that’s what they will eat. Instead, keep fruits at easy reach for the kids to grab. In time, they’ll pick healthier options out of habit!
Praise healthy choices
Give your kids a proud smile and some praise when they choose healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains or low-fat dairy. Your kids may not admit it, but your approval means a lot. Moderation is the key here! Don’t go overboard in enforcing a healthy diet immediately. Go slow and see the changes in your family’s eating habits.