Good eating habits start early and last a lifetime. That is why parents need to encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits. Try these tips, and be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician for additional suggestions.
Model Healthy Eating
Even when they seem focused elsewhere, kids tend to keep an eye on what their parents are doing. They watch and they learn. Since children observe what parents eat, modeling healthy eating is a great way to teach good nutrition.
Let Them Help
Allow your children to get involved in preparing meals. In addition to picking up age-appropriate kitchen skills and gaining a sense of independence, they’ll be directly involved in the process of making healthy meals.
Make Mealtimes Fun
While good manners are important, don’t make dinnertime a formal affair. Keep things light and casual by letting kids engage in conversation over a meal. Making mealtimes fun will help kids enjoy nutritious food more.
Let Them Choose
Most pediatricians agree that, within reason, it’s helpful to give kids a choice in what they eat. For example, giving children who are picky a choice, gives them a sense of empowerment. If a child doesn’t like the taste or texture of one item, they can choose another that suits their palate and is nutritionally comparable.
Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
An effective way to encourage kids to eat healthy is to get rid of junk food, replacing it with more nutritious alternatives. Children will get hungry in between meals so have healthy snacks on hand. Keep fruits or carrot sticks with wholesome dips in the refrigerator.
Do a Little Planning
While you don’t have to plan every meal, a little planning each week will ensure that meals are varied and well balanced. A pediatrician or nutritionist can offer meal plan suggestions.
The less stressed you are about food, the easier it will be for your kids to pick up healthy eating habits. Ask your children’s doctor for tips on the required servings and nutrients your child needs. Remember, it’s a process. With time your children will develop strong healthy eating habits.