One of the biggest challenges of parenting is surely getting your kids to eat healthily. This is crucial in the long run. By making healthy food and eating habits a part of their growing up, you ensure that they remain living like that when grown-up. Kids can often be picky eaters, so it’s essential to learn how to outsmart them and make them eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Such diet is essential not only for their health but also for their development both physically and mentally. Another thing that can make creating and following a healthy meal plan is different food allergies kids might have.
Healthy eating goes hand in hand with quality rest and being physically active – learn how to stay fit with your kids. When it comes to making your kids eat healthily, there are a few basic tips. You should start with making rough meal plans. It’s easier to make kids eat healthier if you offer them choices. You could also make healthy food fun, but more on that later. You can also involve your kids in meal prep and cooking. Parents should try to be creative with food – if you don’t have inspiration – the internet does! Kids love treats, so why not make healthy desserts? As far as new food is concerned, you should introduce it slowly. And what’s most important, you should be the example.
Make meal plans
When children are young, parents are responsible for their eating habits and schedules. So, what you should do is plan a few meals and snacks you can go for every day. Children need to eat or snack every three to four hours. There are usually three main meals and two to three snacks. Incorporate different fruits and veggies every day. Also, make sure that kids drink plenty of water. They can drink some fruit juice as well, but don’t go overboard. It’s best if you make them fresh fruit juice. Be prepared when you go somewhere out – take some healthy snacks along and in that way you won’t need to resort to fast food.
Children, or as a matter of fact, nobody likes to be forced to do something. That usually has a counter-effect. So, what you can do is offer choices when it comes to a healthy breakfast, light dinner, and a hearty snack. This is usually a better and less forceful way to make your children eat more healthily. Children feel much better when the meal choice is up to them. Of course, you will only offer nutritious food! Some child care centres, such as Insight Early Learning, offer a neatly crafted and highly diverse menu, where kids can choose what they’d like to eat. Their menu is rich in nutrients as well as seasonable produce and it’s fresh and delicious.
Make healthy food fun
This is a great trick for healthy foods that are not very popular with kids. You can trick them by adding some tasty and healthy dips and sauces. You can also give some cute names to veggies. What works well is cutting and carving them into some fun shapes. Children usually have aversion to green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, peas and others. And green vegetables are extremely important for our daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
Cook with your kids
Another great trick parents can employ says that you should involve your children in the cooking process. When kids participate in meal choice and prep, they are more likely to eat them voluntarily. Start by taking them to the store with you, teach them about produce and different food as well as where it comes from. Allow them to help you out in the kitchen. Give them small tasks they can do, according to their age. This is a great way to get kids to eat produce they are reluctant to eat in the first place. Besides, cooking with your kids counts as bonding time.
Be creative with food
One thing is true for sure: the more creative the meal is, the more likely kids are to eat it. Put a smiley face or a heart on food, make some amusing vegetable or fruit decorations. You only need some simple tools to do this, such as carving knives. Moreover, you can use different moulds to fry heart-shaped eggs or pancakes. Kids love food presented in this way!
Make healthy desserts
Desserts. They are one thing that almost every kid loves. And you shouldn’t exclude them from the diet. But, what you can do is make them healthy. Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean ill-tasting. There are plenty of healthy desserts you can make. They have everything a good dessert does: sweetness, great taste, fruits, chocolate, honey, and other quality ingredients. Also, be careful with snacks – you should try to make them healthier. Offer nuts, fruits, and yoghurt instead of crisps and other unhealthy snacks.
Introduce new foods slowly
You’ve probably noticed that kids are rarely excited about trying new foods. That’s probably because they got disappointed with certain foods (khm, vegetables). Usually, kids have a few meal options they like and know, and they always stick to them. However, we need to teach about food diversity and its nutritious value. So, introduce one new piece of food at a time. Don’t go overboard and make the whole lunch or dinner completely new. That’s probably not going to go so well. Take it slowly instead.
Show them with your example
The last step that’s crucial is you being the role model. Children are more likely to follow through if they see you doing the same thing. They are probably not going to be eager to eat healthy food if they see you frequently resorting to junk food. That’s definitely not a good way to go. Be a good role model and show them with your own example.
Getting your kids to eat healthily and to live a balanced lifestyle is a huge success in the long run. All the parents should strive for achieving that.