Developing a healthy household may be easier than you think. Building a nutritionally healthy home is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your child’s well-being. For starters, make wise food choices and help your child develop a constructive relationship with balanced meals. Your children will understand how smart they are at mealtime by your example.
Here are the top 10 tips for getting kids to eat healthy foods:
- Don’t ban food. Limiting meals increases the chance that your child will develop eating disorders later in life, such as anorexia or bulimia. In addition, it can have a very negative effect on growth and development. In addition, by limiting meals, you will actually improve the risk of eating too late in the day, which will lead to weight gain.
- Keep healthy meals on hand. Children eat what is readily available. Keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, not hidden in the crisper of your refrigerator. Remember that your child can only choose foods that you store in the house. By limiting “junk food”, you will teach your child to choose healthier foods.
- Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad”. Instead, make the connection between food and activities that your child is interested in, such as sports, school and recreation. Let your child know that lean proteins like poultry and calcium from dairy products give strength for sports and school performance, that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables give hair and skin shine, and that the carbohydrates in whole grains give your child strength for play.
- Congratulate the healthy selections. Give your kids a proud smile and let them know how wise they are when choosing healthy meals. Children thrive on constructive reinforcement!
- Don’t nag them about unhealthy possibilities. If your child sometimes chooses unhealthy foods, ignore them. However, if your son or daughter constantly wants fatty, fried foods, redirect the selection. You can try roasting potato sticks in the oven (with a little oil) instead of buying French fries. Or, if your child wants candy, you can make fresh strawberries drizzled with a little chocolate sauce. Are you also very busy? If so, keep some naturally sweetened dried fruit at home for quick snacks. With continued effort, taste buds change and soon your boy or girl will be craving healthy ingredients.
- Under no circumstances use food as an inducement. This could create weight difficulties after the effort. Instead, reward your children with something physical and fun, such as a trip to the park or a quick fishing trip.
- 7. sit down for housekeeping dinners in the evening. If this is not a tradition in your household, it should be. Studies have shown that children who eat meals at the table with their parents eat better and are therefore less likely to have serious problems in adolescence. Start with one night a week, then work up to three or four, and gradually build the habit.
- Wash dishes in the kitchen. You can put nutritious portions of each item on everyone’s plate. Your young children will learn to identify the right portions. Too often, you go for a few seconds or a few thirds just because the food is there. You may find that you need less food to feel really full!
- Give youth some control. Ask your children to take three bites of every meal on their plate and give them a grade, such as A, B, C, D or F. When balanced foods – especially some vegetables – get high marks, give them more regularly. Offer foods your children don’t like more rarely. Allow your children to participate in decision-making. After all, eating is a family affair!
- Talk to your pediatrician. Talk to your child’s doctor often before dieting, trying to gain weight, or significantly changing the type of meals your child eats. Under no circumstances should you diagnose your child as overweight or underweight on your own. If weight modification is recommended, seek the help of a dietician.