Your kids are likelier to stay healthy all their life if you help them develop healthy eating habits when they’re young. A healthy and balanced diet will also promote physical and mental growth in your child, which will sustain their health through life.
Start Early and Slowly
You cannot change your child’s complete diet on their fifth birthday; you have to start them young. The earlier you start, the better it will be. Give your children nutritious foods when they’re babies. As they grow, include more varieties of healthy foods in their diet. The best way to keep kids away from unhealthy foods is to not give them unhealthy foods at home and to always have healthy snacks ready when you take them out. We don’t mean to say deprive your children of ice creams or other sugary treats, but keep sugary treats as treats and don’t let them replace meals.
Become an Example
- Kids do what they see adults do. You cannot expect your child to eat steamed vegetables when you’re chomping on a fried patty cheeseburger in front of them. Children are quite observant and lookup to their parents and imitate them a lot more than parents realize. If you have healthy eating habits yourself, then you won’t have to try too hard with your child to develop them.
Involve Them in Every Stage
- Take them grocery shopping and instead of stopping at the candy aisle, ask them which seasonal fruits they’d like to try. If they like a certain food you make at home, ask them every few weeks if they want to have it again. When it’s time to cook dinner, involve children in the process of cooking or setting up the table. If your children are not too young, you can even discuss food combinations and a balanced diet with them to create something from what’s available at home.
Make Healthy Foods Appetizing
If your child doesn’t like strawberries look and loves chocolate, coat the strawberries in chocolate and have them try it. Children get excited to try new things and they are more likely to try a variation of something they already like. Similarly, instead of giving children a plate of apple slices, cut apples as fries and put peanut butter in place of ketchup. Make healthy foods look like their favorite unhealthy foods and kids will be more open to try and like them.
Don’t Call Foods Good or Bad
- Don’t talk about how food is healthy or unhealthy and don’t call food items good or bad in front of kids. Some children can be rebellious and they can lean towards things their parents call as bad. Instead of defining food as good or bad or healthy or unhealthy, talk to children about the color and smell of healthy food options. Most naturally healthy foods look and smell appetizing. If it’s something your child is trying for the first time, ask them how they imagine it tastes like. Make them develop a palate for a variety of food and they’ll be able to develop healthy eating habits on their own.