Strategies to Encourage Healthy Eating in
Improving children eating habit and getting children on essentially nutrition enriched food is the main pain point of parents whether it is for a toddler or for a teenager.
Today the world is filled with eating disorders, fad diets, labels and obesity issues. Similarly, there are also trends of dieting, exercising and weight loss. These diverse behavioral patterns in eating often lead us in difficult situations. Every parent now a days wants to develop healthy eating patterns in their kids. But to do this we have to adopt the same healthy life style that we want our children to adopt. Children are like sponges, they will mimic every word we say, copy every action and observe every behavior.
Parents are always a role model for their kids and so it is their job to exhibit healthy eating patterns. It is true that childhood obesity is increasing day by day. It is a more popular trend today to grab a meal to college rather than eating healthy home cooked meals with the family. What parents can do is to teach children to have a more open minded approach towards food. They must know there should be a proportion of what healthy and what not-so-healthy food you eat.
Here are some of the ways in which you can promote healthy eating in your children
- You should not label the food as good or bad. Parents have a habit of doing this. They label sugary, fried and salty foods and bad, and label fruits and vegetables as healthy. This is not a very right approach. By doing this you make your child judgmental about their food. Rather you must tell them that these are the foods that you should eat frequently and those are what you should eat occasionally. Always keep healthy food choices in your house, like fruits and nuts to munch on. At the same time, even you sometimes get a craving for sugary foods, so why not let your kids try that too.
- Children develop their taste buds over a period of time. If they reject any food you offered them, do not back away. Keep offering it to them again and again until eventually they will accept it. Encourage them to take a bite but do not force them. And since children are always watching what you do, eat your vegetables too.
- Kids like to have a hand on experience. Involve them with yourself in cooking and baking, and tell them about the health benefits of a certain food. Plant a fruit or vegetable in your garden. Water it and take care of it with your child. Tell them about the nutritional benefits and enjoy eating it with them. They will learn a lot when they get their hands dirty.
- If you are dieting or restricting your options of food, do not share it with your kids. Do not tell them that you will not eat a certain food because it will make you fat or bloat. This will create a negative picture about food in kids. This behavior can lead them to be picky about their foods and have food restricting behaviors. Tell them that you exercise to stay healthy and not get slim.
- Teach your kids that they must focus on living a healthy life rather than having a healthy weight. Do not make them over conscious about their bodies. Tell them about the benefits of healthy lifestyle and cooking nutritious food, playing sports, and eating sweets in moderation.
- Do not force your children to eat more than they wish to. If they have not cleaned their plate, do not push them to do so. Because children have a better developed sense of hunger and fullness than adults. By employing the clean plate philosophy, you make them to eat more than their need. This later on leads to obesity. Provide them with healthy meals and give them appropriate portions. And if your child wants more, offer them fruits, vegetables and nuts to munch on.
- Accept that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Do not make your children over conscious about their bodies. And do not talk bad about other people’s bodies. Tell them that you exercise to get a healthy life rather than getting a certain shape. Introduce healthy diets and healthy lifestyle in your life, so that your kids may follow and have a healthier life as well.