How to Make Healthy Eating Fun for Children
Healthy eating stabilises your children’s energy level and sharpens their minds. The tendency today is to eat “junk food”, but you can make it easier for your children to eat healthy foods. This will serve them well into adulthood.
How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits in Children
Children may have natural food preferences, so you will want to take the challenge and make their healthy choices more appealing. It may be more than a little difficult to sell your children on apples when they want cookies, but they need to have a diet that is as wholesome and nutritious as possible, allowing them occasional treats. Your children see you as a role model, so you’ll need to eat healthy foods, too. Your child will not respect your asking them to eat vegetables and fruits while you are drinking soda and eating chips.
Helpful Tips in Promoting Healthy Eating
Cooking meals at home more often will be healthier for your family and set a good example for your children. Restaurant meals have more salt, sugar and fat. Only dine out on special occasions. Having regular meals as a family is comforting and gives your children a routine. You can all eat together at breakfast, since a good breakfast will help your children to perform better at school. Involving your children in grocery shopping is helpful, since it gives them a chance to help choose foods for meals. They can select good foods for their lunches, too. Teach your children about what foods are most nutritious, and how to get this information from food labels. Be sure that snacks you put out for your children are healthy. Do not offer snacks that are simply empty calories. Vegetables, fruits and whole grain snacks will fill them up between meals, and healthy beverages should be easily accessible. Teach them to reach for healthy snacks and drinks instead of junk food and soda.
Why do Children Choose Junk Food?
Children are hard-wired to enjoy salty and sweet tastes. Sweets and snacks are always at the top of a child’s food preference list, and vegetables are near the bottom. Most children prefer fruits to vegetables, since they enjoy sweet tastes. It is easier to introduce fruits than vegetables into your child’s diet, and they may need to develop a love of foods like vegetables by watching you enjoy them.
Teach Children to Enjoy Healthy Foods
If your children actually like healthy foods, they will be less likely to become obese. The rate of obesity in children has doubled in the past 30 years, states the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as quoted in U.S. News & World Report. It’s up to you as a parent to influence good food choices. Children do not enjoy trying new foods when they are young. Expose your children to new foods in repeated opportunities and create positive feelings about eating healthy foods. If your child is a fussy eater, he may be going through a normal stage of development.
Children do not trust unfamiliar things and they want to have control over their environment. You can get around some fussy eaters by using plates with separate compartments, so the foods do not touch each other. Even adults take time in order to be convinced that a new product is worth their time to try. Children need to have numerous repetitions of new foods before they will accept them and give them a chance. Tantalizing your children with new foods is more effective than simply insisting that they try them. Limiting snacks will have them hungrier at mealtimes, too.
If you have questions about how to make healthy eating fun for children or for a personalised meal plan, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian.