In this day and age, eating healthy represents a considerable challenge for us and when we have to steer our children in a right direction, things can get difficult. As grownups and parents, we’re supposed to have everything figured out and decided, but more often than not, we’re just figuring out each day as it comes. Nurturing your child’s healthy eating habits requires time, experience and patience, all of which you have to provide in abundance to make it work.
Teaching your kids how to eat healthy without losing your mind is actually a routine you have to plan out and execute on repeat with your little ones. We’ll talk about tips, cheats, and tricks that you can employ to make your life easier and teach your children to eat healthy food every day.
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You Set the Standards for Healthy Eating Habits
Your children will mimic you in whatever you do whether they realize it or not. This is why their healthy eating habits and good attitude toward food, in general, comes from the picture you give them in consuming food.
First of all, you should all eat like a family as often as possible, as kids need their role models to make more sense of the world, healthy nutrition included.
Second, you want to restrain from any negative body-image talk or constantly talking about how you need to lose weight because these words get stuck in the evolving consciousness of your little ones and that can be fertile ground for some serious issues along the path later.
Finally, you should always prepare and eat the same food as your children, even if they don’t always like what you’re making. It’s incredibly exhausting to prepare separate meals every day (unless your child is prone to food allergies) and you need to set a good example that you’re eating the healthy food that your children don’t find appealing.
Eventually, they will start tolerating the veggies and fruits and love them by the time they’re older.
You were a kid once, so you must remember just how annoying it was for you to listen to grownups preaching about eating all the vegetables on the plate. You pressuring your children to eat, even when it’s the good healthy stuff, will only end up in them resisting the whole notion even more and you’ll get nowhere.
Though it might be difficult sometimes, it is crucial not to try and persuade your kids to eat all the kale (nobody really likes it anyway), but let them decide on their own. When you serve healthy meals regularly, little ones will get accustomed to them gradually without your constant remarks hanging over their head.
With that said, also bear in mind that forcing kids to eat more than they want will push them toward the downfalls of overeating, which can cause some serious trouble as they grow up. Even when you’re making them eat only the things that are good for them, they will still eat over their capacity, and too much of a good thing can backfire badly.
Surround Your Kids with Healthy Food
If you want your children to form healthy eating habits, then you need to surround them with healthy food choices constantly. When you’ve got cookies lying around the house, ice cream in the fridge and chips for a snack, of course, your kids will crave more processed food high in sugar and carbohydrates. How could they not when there’s no apple in sight?
Instead of being determined to squeeze some vegetables and fruits in one meal, spread them throughout the day and let the children have more options in what exactly they’re going to eat. This means including some fresh fruit with breakfast, healthy snacks and a wholesome dinner that includes whole wheat products and lots of veggies to top them off.
Even when you’re busy and don’t have the time to cook, you can use healthy meal delivery services that will bring hearty meals to your doorstep. There are some excellent companies that made a great reputation thanks to the variety of healthy meals they offer, and for some of them, like it’s the case with Sun Basket meal prepping, getting good food to healthy families is what they’re all about. Or you can go more plant-based with a meal service like Green Chef. These two are some of my personal favorites.
Have you ever heard of Thrive Market? It’s like Amazon, but has some different healthy options that you can’t find most places.
There are plenty of ways to surround and influence your child with healthy diet – all you need to do is find what works for your particular little human.
Plan It All Out!
Having a schedule for every day and sticking it to it is what will help you remain sane when children come into your life. The same goes for planning out the meals you’ll have with your family throughout the week. If at all possible, you should use weekends for some meal prepping, so that you can have quick and healthy meals on hand throughout the week, without spending hours in the kitchen.
The whole menu should revolve around healthy food choices, and you should also plan out snacks that don’t include processed food because small children should have five meals in a day and plenty of liquids in between so that they don’t become cranky and fussy.
Don’t Be Too Strict
Eating healthy overall is paramount, but having treats and not-so-healthy meals from time to time is quite acceptable. You shouldn’t turn junk food into an award, as that will only be counterproductive in creating healthy eating habits for your children. Sweets, pizza, burgers and whatever else your little one’s love should be allowed, but in moderation. These processed foods shouldn’t be a part of the daily diet.
We all deserve some super chocolatey dessert from time to time, so it’s completely fine to indulge ourselves every once in a while and the same goes for your kids – catering to your kids’ sweet tooth from time to time is ok, overindulging sends healthy eating habits out through the window.
Being consistent in teaching your kids to eat healthy food is the key to success. Sometimes the meals will go smoothly and the plates won’t have any leftover veggies on them and sometimes things won’t be that optimal.
The most important thing to do is to help your kids understand that eating healthy is a way of life and there is no way of going around it, so they might as well accept it and enjoy it.