Anyone with children knows that they’re big eaters, and their appetites only get bigger as they grow. Getting them to eat isn’t hard but getting them to eat healthy can be.
The factors that explain why children commonly refuse vegetables at the dinner table are varied and there is no one solution to the issue. Making sure children are getting the right nutrition to support their healthy development is a problem many modern parents face.
There are a number of different tips and tricks to reinforce healthy eating habits in your kids. Let’s take a brief look at some of the best methods to get your kids eating healthy.
Lead by example
Actions scream louder than words and this is especially true in the case of raising children. Reinforcing healthy eating habits in children is much harder if you’re not practising them yourself.
It’s best not to over-dramatize eating something healthy to make a point to your child and just make it part of your normal routine. Children will emulate their parents the more they see something being done naturally and without fuss.
Don’t act as the food police
While it’s natural to want to use parental authority to reinforce good habits in children, this is not always the best way to go. Children have a tendency to resist direct instructions, especially if they are framed in a negative way.
Instead, make healthy suggestions in a kind way and praise them when they make a healthy choice. Children naturally respond better to praise than criticism so take advantage of this.
Involve children in food preparation
Having children handling good foods throughout meal preparation is a great way to introduce them in a positive light. Encouraging your child to interact with healthy food in a way that makes them feel useful is an excellent method to making them more appealing.
Slowly introduce new foods over time
If your child has only just started touching their peas, don’t immediately begin to overwhelm them with other healthy foods. Children, especially young ones, are naturally cautious of new foods and thus they should be introduced slowly.
Don’t pander to unhealthy food habits
Normalising unhealthy foods by giving into to a child’s tantrum or doing so out of laziness will only make them see those options as easily attainable. Since the marketing of junk foods is so prevalent throughout society, children are constantly receiving messaging about it.
This can be especially true when children attend school and potentially see their peers routinely eating unhealthy foods. It’s important to make sure that children understand that eating these foods on a daily basis isn’t good for them.
Resist the urge to go to the drive through because you’re too tired to cook. If you absolutely must get fast food, find a healthier option at a small business or market.