Healthy eating is crucial for your child’s growth and development. When a child eats healthy, it raises his or her immunity against diseases such as heart disease, childhood diabetes, cancers and other infections. It also ensures that a child maintains a good weight, necessary for making them feel and look better at their age. That is why helping them learn healthy eating habits is an important part of parenting. Besides, helping your child pick up a healthy lifestyle now can be instrumental in leading a healthy life even as adults. However, teaching healthy eating habits in a world where unhealthy choices are readily available can be a challenge. Nevertheless, with the right tips such as the following, you can easily make it possible.
Avail healthy foods only
The first step in helping your child learn about healthy eating habits is making available healthy foods at home. It is typical for kids to prefer one type of food from each food group. You might find that your child prefers a certain vegetable or fruit. Ensure that these choices are among what is available at home. However, this is not to say that you shy away from varieties. Kids warm up to new foods with time; keep a variety and keep adding them in his or her diet. Healthy foods to make available include fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, cereals such as rice, pasta, and bread, meats such as fish, poultry and beef, milk, yoghurt, and cheese as well as water. In addition, healthy supplements such as magnesium gummies are a worthy addition to their diet. These are great at providing the right nutrients for strengthening the bones.
Create regular meals and snacks routine
Kids thrive on routine and structure. With a regular schedule for meals and snacks, kids are less likely to be fussy during meal times. In addition, it helps you to be more certain of the times that your child is hungry. Having structure is also likely to help regulate his or her appetite. Eating all the time can lead to overeating resulting in an upset tummy or obesity. Eating too little isn’t healthy either. When his or her body is used to a structured time for meals, your child gets in tune with the body, which helps avoid overeating or under-eating. Besides, by creating a regular schedule for meals and snacks, you are giving your child consistent chances to build a positive relationship with food.
Allow your child to listen to his or her body
As a parent, it is easier to dictate the amount of food a child eats especially when you feel like they are not eating enough. While this often means well, it can go against your efforts of teaching healthy eating habits. Kids are great at listening to what their bodies are saying. They know when they are hungry as well as when their tummies are full. If you continue pressuring your child to eat more when his or her body is saying otherwise, you are interfering with his or her internal cues. Within no time, your child will not know when to stop, which can bring adverse results such as unhealthy weight gain. Shared responsibility is the answer here. You can decide when, where and what to eat, but let your child decide when to stop. You can encourage him or her to eat slowly to help detect fullness better.
Instill knowledge about food
Kids are more likely to understand healthy eating when you equip them with information about different foods. You can use different opportunities to teach your child about food. Mealtimes are great for talking about the foods on the table. You can play a naming game and tell your child the nutrients found in each food. However, don’t use the information as a way of forcing a child to eat a certain food that they don’t like. You can also grow foods together so that they can learn how foods grow. Let them help in the kitchen so that they can learn healthy recipes. Take your child with you when shopping for groceries and use the opportunity to teach them how to read food labels as well as to identify health choices.
Model healthy eating habits
You can’t be preaching water and drinking wine. Remember that kids learn best by observing people around them. If you are taking unhealthy foods and then forbidding your kids not to take them, you can be sure that they will find a way to eat them. Besides ensuring that only healthy food is available at home, let them see you eating them both at home and when eating out.
Teaching healthy eating habits is quite tough yet necessary if you want your child to grow healthy. Kids can get stubborn at times, discouraging you in the process. However, the key is being consistent, persistent and modeling what you want to see in your kids. Moreover, using the above tips can give you a good starting point in teaching healthy eating habits to your kids.