How to Teach Your Kids to Choose the Right Foods
They don’t even dare to come near broccoli and they won’t even taste your delicious vegetable lasagnas, not to mention their terrible aversion to anything peas-related. If you can identify with all these, then join the club of frustrated moms that are trying to teach their little ones healthy eating habits. Well, we’re not giving up on our healthy eating mission and if you don’t have any intention to either, then we’ve narrowed down a few fast tips we should all be applying on day to day basis:
Always Load Up on Healthy Snacks
Whether you’re planning on going to the park, on a road trip or to the beach, this parenting 101 tip is simply a must-do. Since kids get hungry roughly every 3 hours, make sure you always have your carrot sticks, hummus, yogurt, nuts, seeds and fruit packed up and at arm’s reach. You’ll be surprised just how this simple trick will help you avoid all those trips to fast food joints or donut shops.
Be Patient When Introducing New Foods
If your little one won’t try sweet potatoes, then hide them in their regular mashed potatoes – but start small, so they wouldn’t be able to tell the color difference. Step by step, include more and more sweet potatoes in the mashed meal. If done gradually and slowly, most new foods will be accepted by your stubborn kids. The same goes for a variety of other meals: if your little one won’t accept a plate of peas, then start out with putting a single pea on their plate together with other dishes and increase the portion slowly every week.
Prepare Big Family Meals with Your Kids
When you encourage your kids to help you cook, you have far better chances of convincing them to try their culinary creations. Since most kids take pride in their accomplishments, you will notice how they will be extra interested to test out what the entire family is eating. Moreover, planning a big family meal with lots of options is always advisable instead of preparing different meals for different family members, as it encourages the little ones to copy their parents’ eating habits.
Educate Your Kids About Food and Nutrition
Teaching your kids about food and nutrition is a great way to help them make informed decisions about what they eat. Explain to them the different food groups, their benefits, and why it’s important to have a balanced diet. You can also show them how to read food labels and what to look for, such as high sugar or salt content. This knowledge will give them the confidence to make the right choices when it comes to food.
Make Healthy Food Fun
One of the best ways to teach your kids to choose the right foods is to make healthy food fun. Get creative with your meal preparation and presentation by arranging fruits and vegetables in colorful patterns, or making funny faces with food. You can also get your kids involved in the kitchen by letting them choose their own healthy snacks, or helping them create their own healthy smoothie recipes.
Encourage Good Eating Habits
Encouraging good eating habits in your kids is crucial for teaching them to choose the right foods. This includes eating at regular meal times, sitting down together as a family to eat, and avoiding distractions such as TV or phones. It’s also important to encourage your kids to listen to their bodies and eat until they are full, rather than finishing everything on their plate. By instilling good eating habits early on, your kids will be more likely to make healthy food choices throughout their lives.
Lead by Example
Kids often learn by watching and imitating their parents, so it’s important to lead by example when it comes to choosing the right foods. Make sure that you are also following a healthy and balanced diet, and avoid keeping unhealthy snacks or junk food in the house. By showing your kids that healthy eating is a priority for the whole family, you’ll be setting a positive example for them to follow.
Allow Treats in Moderation
While it’s important to encourage your kids to choose the right foods, it’s also important to allow treats in moderation. Banning all unhealthy foods can actually make them more appealing, so it’s better to allow them occasionally in small portions. This way, your kids can learn to enjoy treats without overindulging or feeling guilty.
Involve Your Kids in Grocery Shopping
Taking your kids grocery shopping with you is a great opportunity to teach them about choosing the right foods. Encourage them to help you pick out fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options. You can also explain why certain foods are good for them, and why others may not be as healthy. By involving your kids in the shopping process, you’ll be empowering them to make their own healthy choices.