We all know that a healthy diet and healthy eating is important for kids, but we always know just how hard it is to ensure they maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Here are six tips to ensure your child picks up good eating habits:
Get them to help with food preparation
Show your child the process of preparing dinner so they can become more aware of what they are eating and how it manages to get on their plate. Understanding that it doesn’t magically just appear at dinner time will encourage them to respect food and the process of cooking it. Make preparing fresh food fun so that they will associate good, fresh food with fond childhood memories.
Don’t lecture them
Avoid lecturing your little one on what’s healthy and what’s not healthy. Also, if they don’t eat a portion of their dinner try to avoid comparing their food intake with that of other people around the world who don’t have as much food. This will simply cause them to associate food with feeling guilty and stressed.
Reduce sugar consumption
Make sure you reduce your child’s sugar consumption. Talk to them about the damaging effects of too much sugar and it’s affect on diet and tooth decay. Avoid any scientific terms and keep your explanations to a minimum. Again, a lecture is not required but they do need to be aware of limiting too much bad foods and why.
Don’t force them to eat
Don’t force them to eat their dinner unless you feel there is something much deeper behind it. Just like adults, some kids can have days where they eat more or less than normal. By serving them smaller portions they won’t feel like dinner becomes a chore and they can always ask for more if they are still hungry.
Enjoy meals as a family
Make meal times fun and about being together as a family. Avoid hoovering over your child waiting for them to eat, if they are slow simply sit beside them until they are finished. Eating as a family also allows your child to question their food and understand where it comes from. It also helps them to see your own healthy eating habits and follow your lead.
Don’t use food as a punishment or a treat
Avoid using food as a way to punish or reward your child. They will begin to associate food with certain things which may affect their attitude towards eating.