Good and bad habits can be learnt in childhood. You might know a lot of kids who start to cringe at the mere mention of a vegetable, while happily enjoying not so healthy food instead. If your kid does the same, don't worry, it's a common habit in most children. But, if you do not want it to persist and stay, then there is a definite need for some smart tactics and ideas which can make sure that your kids eat healthy, nutritious and develop a habit of eating well throughout adulthood.
Between the ages of 5 and 12, is the time when the human body grows the most. During this time, a healthy body will be fully capable of absorbing all kinds of nutrients, from healthy fats to proteins and vitamins. Therefore, kids during their growing age must follow a balanced diet, and that is only possible by the proper guidance of parents. It is the duty of every parent, to ensure that your kid proactively eats healthy, and also, understands the value of healthy eating instead of all the junk, sugar-laden goods from the packaged food industry.
Promoting Healthy Eating in Early Days
“Sit and eat”, “Don’t eat with your mouth open”. As a parent, these good habits are mandatory to be taught and imparted as a wisdom to children. Just like this, the importance of healthy eating is also a ‘piece of wisdom’ that should be taught to the kids from an early age. Of course, they will love cakes and chips over sabzi and roti and you cannot blame them or keep them devoid of fast food. Tomorrow, if not today they will eat them and you won’t be able to take control. So, the key is to make them understand the importance of healthy foods for kids and minimising packaged or outside food to occasions only. If that made you feel a little supported, then keep reading. This is all that we have focused on today, parents, kids and their role in healthy eating.
How to Make Sure that Your Kids Eat Healthily
A parent's worst nightmare would be when their kid refuses to eat, and kids are picky eaters. Either they will refrain from food at all or will get attracted to junk food only. What is the solution to that? What to do when your kid says ‘No’ to home food. When they make faces over healthy vegetables and dal? What is the trick to keeping them away from instant noodles, chips, fries, burgers and pizzas? Here are a few tips that can become your secret for child care and eating habits.
1. Start at a You Age
Starting at a young age can never go waste. As soon as your kid starts to get attracted to the food, the process begins. A tiny bite of chocolate might seem harmless, but if the habit persists, you will have to try everything to get a full bar from your kid in some time. Try to keep them away from junk eating for as long as possible. Treats are acceptable, but only occasionally.
2. Teach Them Through Pictures
Toddlers love looking at pictures, and many parents start to teach them about colours, words, letters etc. using this approach. Add fruits and vegetable picture books to that. Also, with each vegetable or fruit, tell them about its importance. For example, tell them that bananas will make them stronger, or the milk will help them grow taller.
3. Take Your kids to Grocery Shopping
Children will learn what they will be introduced to. They will know all of the famous burger joints if you take them there. So, taking advantage of that, allow them to come with you when you go shopping for groceries. Make them pick whole foods of their choice and converse with them about it. They will be excited to pick colourful fruits and leafy greens. Introduce them to nuts as snacks and allow them to procrastinate about the dinner that would be prepared with those groceries.
4. Eat Healthy Foods with Them
They will eat if you eat. If you concentrate on the food, enjoy it too and your kids will understand the importance of it. Avoid using the screen as a distraction and eat as a family.
5. Cook Meals at Home, Involve Kids
Prepare fresh meals each time at home and engage your little helpers at times. They will learn about foods and may even love eating them, knowing that they were a part of preparing it. Avoid feeding them a snack near mealtime and be particular about their eating schedule. This way, they will grow the habit of eating on time till adulthood and ever.
When you have kids at home, you have to plan everything around them, food, plans and even your sleep schedule. One thing that you and they keep common in eating nutritious food all the time. Think as per your child's taste and requirements, but to not make them their weakness. Also, ensure that your kid is not having any trouble on the medical front if you notice a sudden change in their eating habits. Their bowel movement or oral health can be very closely related to it. Keep them as distant as possible from carbonated drinks, sugary foods and fried food. Kid's habits today will be a lifestyle tomorrow.