How to Encourage Kids to Have Healthier Eating Habits
Teaching children healthy eating habits has been a struggle for parents for generations. Steering kids toward healthier food choices can often lead to parents giving up, giving in or trying to create a whirlwind of rewards and punishments revolving around food.
It is likely you were either a member of or promoter of the “clean plate club”. Perhaps you were told or told your children about starving children in other countries. You may have even declared there would be no snacks or desert without eating compliance.
Isn’t it interesting that through all this, many of us don’t choose to eat healthier until we are adults?
You may even know people, just like you, who even today love or hate pasta, appreciate a rare steak or love or won’t try sushi. That doesn’t mean we can’t at least encourage our children to eat healthier.
Here are some things to keep in mind.
Some choices are Better Than Others
Eating isn’t necessarily black or white nor right or wrong. That being said, most would agree a fresh cup of fruit is healthier than a pre-packaged pudding cup or chocolate candy bar. Just try to make better choices for your child.
Keep Your Home Stocked with Better Choices.
If all you have in your pantry are sugar-coated cookies, pop and gummy bears, that doesn’t leave a lot of options. Make sure you have bananas, strawberries, peaches and grapes on hand. Even microwave popcorn may be a better choice than a peanut butter cup.
Teach Kids Food is Fuel
Who doesn’t want to be a superhero? Teaching kids that what they eat fuels their bodies can help them build that connection between feeling good and feeling bad. Food provides good energy and helps them develop their superpowers.
Grow Some Fruits and Vegetables
Growing edible plants can help children learn patience, the power of nurturing and how food is grown. Green peppers, tomatoes or green beans may never become their favorites, but it will be a terrific learning experience.
Cook with Them
Children are more likely to at least try something they had a hand in making. This can be everything from vegetable soup to a healthier pizza. Get them involved and to understand that foods are a magical blend of flavors and ingredients. They are helping to create something. They can then decide if they like it. If they don’t, talk about what might make the recipe more appealing the next time.
You can encourage better eating habits in children through availability and example. Make better choices for you and you may find your child following along. If not, you can head them in the right direction for later in life.
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