Are your kids picky-eaters? As parents, you have the obligation to train your children make healthy food choices as they grow. It is the best step that you can take to ensure that your kids are healthy.
Learning how to train your children eat healthy food may not be an easy task. Today, unhealthy foods are all over the media and easily available in the market. However, by setting an example to them and by adopting a positive, healthy environment, you can easily get your kids prefer healthy foods.
Here are some tips that can help you train your children develop healthy eating habits:
Tip# 1: Don’t be a food police.
Don’t be a food police to your kids. The more you restrict them, the more they would rebel, and feel frustrated to get the food they like. Instead of forcing them, stock only healthy, wholesome foods like avocados (αβοκαντο) or oats in your pantry and fridge. Avoid stocking on junk foods and sodas. By storing only healthy food choices, they don’t have any choice and they would be encouraged to eat healthy. It’s how you train them.
Tip# 2: Be a good role model.
Several studies have shown that what your children see is what they would follow. So, if you are eating healthy foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, low-fat foods and fruits, your kids would likely prefer it too.
Tip# 3: Don’t label foods as “good” and “bad”
Don’t tell your children that these are “good foods” and these are “bad foods.” The easier way to let them understand the effects of eating healthy and unhealthy foods is to tell for instance, that proteins such as chicken, eggs and turkey can make their muscles stronger, calcium from dairies makes their bones stronger while fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that keep their nails, hair and skin healthy.
Tip# 4: Slowly introduce healthy food choices weekly.
Don’t abruptly force your kids the foods they don’t eat and eliminate the foods they are enjoying right now. Instead, offer them foods that they less likely prefer, followed by wholesome food options, including fruit, salad, homemade desserts and soups. The goal is to expose them to the foods they don’t like until they decide to try it. Remember that before kids like something, they first have to be exposed to it.
Tip# 5: Introduce vegetables to your kids in an interesting way.
Most kids hate vegetables. Instead of forcing them to like and eat them, introduce vegetables in a fun way. For example, try adding new vegetable to the vegetables that they already like. You can add cauliflower to mashed potatoes, add some more vegetables to fried rice, or make a vegetable smoothie. You can also let your kids participate in decorating foods on the plates or when you’re cooking.
Tip# 6: Never use food as a reward.
When your kids do something good, don’t give them chocolates or ice cream that could lead to weight problems later. Instead of food, give them something that can encourage them to be healthy. For instance, you can give them a trip to the park to play or give them a bike so they can remain active and avoid weight gain.
Farrah Surres is a health and nutrition expert. She has written several e-books and books about healthy eating habits, nutrition, factors that triggers addictive behaviors, mental health and addiction recovery. Learn more about addiction treatment at: addictions.com.