Kids are certainly fussy when it comes to food. It is the parent’s hardest challenge to get their children to eat healthy foods considering that many of them want to indulge more on unhealthy snacks with empty calories and little to no nutritive value such as junk foods and sodas. If you are one of the parents who are deeply concern with your child’s eating behavior, here are 20 great tips to get your child to eat healthy.
How To Get Your Child To Eat Healthy?
These ways are simple, convenient and proven effective once you implement in your daily routines. As parents, we understand that you want the best for your child especially when it comes to right kinds of foods.
1. A Little Unhealthy Won’t Do Harm
To teach your child healthy eating habits, learn this tip. Though healthy eating should be your top priority, it is also important to give some cheat days to your kids.
Eating a sundae ice cream once in a while or having popcorns on movies will help your child not to crave for the bad stuff. Just make sure that you balance different types of foods with smart food choices and exercise.
2. Plan When & What To Give Meals
Providing a schedule will allow your child to follow a certain routine when it comes to eating. At their age, children need to eat every 3 to 4 hours. A complete day schedule should be composed of three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), two snacks (morning and afternoon), and more fluids particularly water.
3. Become A Mentor
Be a role model to your child when it comes to eating healthy. If you have bad eating habits, your child will simply think that what you are doing is normal and he or she will follow you. You cannot scold your child as he will just point out that what he is doing is simply following you. So it is rightfully best to start living healthy and showing it to your child as an example.
4. Keep Fruits & Veggies In Sight
To inculcate healthy eating habits in child, it is important to keep fresh and veggies in sight. According to Katie Cavuto MS, RD, a dietitian at the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers:
Children often grab fruits and vegetables over unhealthy snacks if they are available and can be eaten at the soonest possible time.
So you’d better keep washed foods accessible to your kids. Say, for example, keep apples, bananas, and carrots etc in front of your fridge. This will eventually make them understand why eating healthy is so important for the body.
5. Be Fun And More Creative
You can design pancakes and use cookie cutters to turn fruits and vegetable slices into different shapes such as stars and hearts. The more creative and fun your meal is, higher the chances that your child is likely to eat. You may also give food nicknames to each and every food to make it more appealing to your child.
6. Get More Healthy Food Choices And Cut Back On Junk
You are the ones who bring food inside your house because you always do the grocery shopping and not your child. So instead of grabbing a bag of chips, get whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Your child will eat these foods when they could not find any junk foods in sight.
7. Do Not Keep Big Serving Bowls On The Table
When you place a big bowl of food on the table, you are allowing your child to over-eat as he can simply get foods easily within rich.
This has been proven by a study published in the journal Obesity where people consume 35% more food when they eat foods that are served in family-style settings. You can leave the food on the stove or the counter and let your children get to it. The time they spend leaving the table is used up to control and consider their hunger levels carefully.
8. Keep Them Involved
To get your child to eat healthy, it is vital to keep them more involved during meal preparation. They have the tendency to eat better since they will taste what they have prepared. Kids who are old enough may be tasked to do the cutting of veggies and fruits, or you can ask the help of small kids to mix different meal preparations. This will not only keep them involved, but this will also help strengthen your bond together.
9. Sprinkle Some Sugar
Though sugar can be bad when eaten in excess, children would love the taste of sweetness. You can sprinkle a little sugar just to ensure that they eat fruits and vegetables. After all, the nutrients & minerals they get from fruits and veggies will surpass the negative effects of sugar you have added.
10. Add Some Soy
Soy milk is known as a great source of healthy phytochemicals. While many kids do not like soymilk a lot, they won’t be able to notice it if it is already hidden in some of your meal recipes. Just ensure that you use low-fat and calcium fortified soy when you prepare recipes that require the use of milk such as mashed potatoes and oatmeals.
11. Make Mornings Healthier
Morning breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day because you need enough energy to keep yourself going for the entire day. Include large amounts of fibers in your breakfast. You can simply get this from healthy high-fiber cereals, or you may also prepare the meal personally yourself.
12. Allow Treats Occasionally
Though you cut on junk foods, you can allow occasional treats so that your child will have lesser cravings for the forbidden foods and prevent him from sneaking out and indulging himself in eating excessive amounts of these bad and unhealthy foods.
13. Use Delicious Healthy Dips
Most kids hate vegetables, but once you serve it with dips, the taste becomes tolerable if not better. Experiment on making healthy dips that will make the taste of veggies more delicious to your child’s palate.
14. Introduce New Foods Slowly
Children are not good in eating new kinds of foods. So you need to introduce these foods slowly. You can try different tricks such as telling them that their taste buds should still get used to a certain flavor before the taste becomes delicious, and that they should continue to eat until this happens.
15. Keep Their Idol In Mind
When you tell your child that his idol eats this and that, he will certainly eat it too to be more like the person he worships. Say, for example, that Popeye eats spinach to be stronger. You will be surprised that your child will eat more spinach than what he usually takes in.
16. Don’t Nag
Children will only resist more if you keep on nagging them to eat certain foods. It is best to enforce neutrality when you let your children eat. Give them time to digest the food and get accustomed to the taste rather than scold them for not eating what you have served.
17. Plan Dinners
Planning meals can be a bit daunting, but it is a healthy habit too since you can see what meals you have to prepare ahead of time and know which food variations to give. For you to plan dinners well, make sure that you provide a whole meal with balanced nutrition all throughout the week.
18. Do Not Eat In Front Of The Television
Make it a habit of eating on the table. When you eat while watching TV, you and your children are not paying attention to the food you place in their mouths, and this may lead to either under-eating or over-eating.
19. Do Not Give Food After 8 PM
Time is of the essence. A study published in the same Obesity journal said that:
Sleeping and eating habits are relatively linked to a person’s body mass index.
Those who eat after 8 pm usually have more calories and have the highest BMIs. So, prevent the risk of childhood obesity.
20. Encourage Healthy Eating In School
Since your child is not always at home, you cannot look after what he eats. Encourage your child to eat healthy in school too by providing him with healthy choices in his lunchbox or giving a careful and thorough consideration of the school’s lunch options.
Hope, these tips helped you. As a parent, if there is any other important information you wish to convey other readers, feel free to drop it in the comments box.