Developing healthy habits in children begins when they are toddlers. Some habits ingrained at a young age remain forever. Think back to things you learned as a kid- brushing your teeth, taking bath, putting your clothes in the wardrobe. Those habits are second nature now that you’re an adult. The same can be true with healthy eating. The earlier your kids learn about and practice good nutrition, the more likely it will become a life-long habit.
We also know that children are fussy eaters and as the child grows their eating habits develop which follow them throughout their life. Thus it is vital to encourage healthy choices, which is a great way to start them down the path of developing healthy eating habits that they will carry into adulthood.
While getting your child to eat healthy in the times of fast food is tedious, it is definitely not impossible.
Here is a list of ways in which you can get your child to eat healthily:
1. Be The Mentor
A child learns many things from his/her parents. Set an example and be a role- model to your child. While ordering food online or in a restaurant, order healthy food most of the times. Eat healthy at home, bring less packaged food and cook your child’s favorite dishes at home.
2. No No To Bait
Parents often coax their child into eating vegetables/fruits in return of letting them eat anything that the child demands which is most unhealthy. Giving an unhealthy food as bait is a wrong practice which affects the health and perception of a child in the long run.
If he/she is finishing even half of the plate without complaining, that is good enough. Don’t force your child to finish the entire plate and bait them.
Do not reward with food. It sends the wrong message especially as most foods offered are not typically healthy options.
3. Share Gadget-Free meals
Lives are busy and sharing a proper meal with family has become scarce. But it is essential that a parent doesn’t start off with handing a gadget to the child while feeding. On the dining table have a strict no gadget policy where neither the parents nor the children are allowed to view their gadgets during their mealtime. This makes one mindful of what they are eating, build better bonds and start great conversations.
4. Know, Teach and Eat
As parents, we consider feeding or preparing a meal as a mere task. Stick to the basics and go back to your roots. Know what you are cooking and eating, how it helps your overall development. If you are a parent to your toddler, feed them telling them what they are eating and explain it to them what it would do to their body in a story or poem as they would understand. If you are a parent of a teen, cook together and eat together. Be aware of the things you are feeding your body as a parent and to your child.
5. Experiment With Food
Even an adult gets bored by a fixed menu and is delighted by a change in the menu or a healthy fusion food or something that looks drool-worthy.
Experiment with different vegetables, fruits, lentils or for starters just present the food in a way the kids would love and can’t resist trying.
Healthy eating habits with the right exercise will help your child be good in academics. Kids who eat healthily are more likely to go to class and to pay attention in class, be more energetic rather than sluggish. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits can help lower calorie consumption, helping kids keep the extra weight away.