Getting kids to eat nutritious meals is a challenge that parents all over the world face daily. Most kids would rather eat less nutritious meals, which can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and food-related diseases. Luckily, parents have a lot of influence on the food eaten by their kids, making it possible to help them maintain a healthy diet.
The main idea is to ensure they get all the essential nutrients in their meals so that they can grow strong and healthy. Fortunately, there are several ways to get your kids to always eat healthy, and the tips below can help you achieve your goal.
10 Start Early
Kids develop eating habits as soon as they have their first bite of food. Normally, they will like some foods and reject others, sometimes with no reason at all.
Moms that want their children to eat healthy must consistently offer healthy meals and control the type of food available in the home. Food preferences are built over time by ensuring a variety of healthy meals for kids is available on the menu.
9 Have a Menu
Kids are always willing to try out new foods making it easier to experiment with several meals. It is possible for a child to like a meal today and reject it the next day. However, the availability of a menu makes it possible for mums to prepare various nutritious meals for kids to try out.
Although the focus is on healthy eating, try and include their favorite snack so that they have something to look forward to. When eating out, help them order tasty yet healthy food that is appropriate for their age.
8 Regulate Portion Sizes
Serving food in smaller plates is an excellent way of maintaining set portion sizes for kids. Assign every child their plate and serve them food that will satisfy them. Most times, they will eat to their full and, in some cases, ask for more.
When eating, explain to your toddler the importance of serving food that they can finish and only going for a second helping if they need to. Additionally, you should serve appropriate portion sizes as an example to your young children.
7 Be A Healthy Diet Role Model
Kids mirror the behavior of their parents and do exactly what they do. If you want your child to adopt healthy eating and let it become a lifestyle, you have to model the same. Teaching by example should start at an early age when they see parents making healthy food choices.
Checking your portions and saying you are full even when your plate is not clean will encourage them to do the same. A mum that avoids junk food and always seeks healthier alternatives will find it easier to teach the same lifestyle to their children.
6 Limit Sugar Intake
It is advisable to keep kids away from foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sweeteners and sugars. Mums can offer alternatives to kids so that they remain healthy and still indulge in their favorite snacks.
For a healthier diet, mums can use recipes that contain less sugar and create treats with reduced sugars. A total ban on sugary drinks and sweets is not encouraged for kids that want to remain healthy as it can result in a negative relationship with food, restriction based binging, and a poor body image.
Teach kids that they are eating healthy to fuel their bodies and that treats are fun, but should only be had in moderation.
5 Eat As a Family
Mealtime should be part of the family schedule and should require everyone to be seated at the dining table. Eating together gives the family a chance to interact as they eat and get to learn more about each other. Sitting together and enjoying meals can increase one’s appetite making it possible for kids to eat foods that they would have otherwise rejected.
Also, eating together gives you a chance to observe your child’s eating habits and make changes when necessary. Most times, the tradition of eating together makes it easier for kids to maintain healthy diets.
4 Let Kids Help in The Kitchen
Get your kids involved in the preparation of food in the kitchen to get them excited about the upcoming meal. It may be as simple as having them with you in the room while you prepare the ingredients so that you can answer their questions.
Toddlers can help with washing the vegetables as they splash about you can teach them about food. Most times, the kids may not understand everything you say, but as they interact more with various ingredients, they will learn about healthy and unhealthy foods.
3 Offer Healthy Snacks
Snacking is a favorite time for kids as they get to eat their best meals without reserve. Most kids usually eat at least two snacks daily as part of their schedule. Although snacks are often junk food, mums can always offer healthier yet tasty options to their kids.
If you are planning on having healthy snacks as part of the kids’ menu, you can offer foods like yogurt, fresh fruits, crackers, sandwiches, home-baked pastries, among others. Most times, kids will consume the snacks that are available and accept them as a norm in the home.
2 Present Appealing Meals
Simply put, kids will be more open to eating meals that look good. Making food appealing can be as simple as cutting them into fancy shapes that will attract their attention.
Babies will eat vegetables that have been camouflaged using their favorite soup, resulting in increased food intake. Making healthy food a favorite for your kid is possible with proper planning, and some “sneaky” tactics which ensure all meals are happily eaten.
1 Monitor Their Weight (Without Making It A Big Deal)
Healthy nutrition plays a significant role in weight management for kids. Overweight children have higher chances of getting health complications as they get older. It is, therefore, important to get your baby or toddler’s weight regularly checked to help make adjustments to their diet. Normally, a combination of healthy meals and regular physical activity will have your kid growing at their ideal weight.
However, it is important to prevent their weight from being tied to morality. Avoid talking about “good” or “bad” foods/weights. Instead, refer to them as healthy. Avoid using healthy food as a punishment (both for the child and yourself) for weight gain. Don’t force tight restrictions. Teach them balance, moderation, and the importance of fueling their bodies. Monitor their weights when they are younger, in order to ensure that they are growing at a healthy rate, but don’t make it seem like an important thing either way.