By teaching children healthy eating habits parents can help them to maintain very healthy lifestyle when they will grow adults. Nowadays Television and entertainment sources bombard variety of junk/fast food via commercials, So it becomes tough task for parents to teach healthy eating to children.
Healthy food helps children to maintain healthy weight and normal growth. The quality and completeness of the food remain as critical as ever to the nutritional health and wellbeing of the child. A satisfactory diet must include the nutrients and appropriate amount of calories. Like adults, children need to eat a variety of foods from different food groups to get all the nutrients necessary for good health and most important their growth.
Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy the most, so the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. However, you can ensure that your children’s diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible, even while allowing for some of their favourite treats. For example once a while their favourite chocolates, fast food delicacies can be offered as reward.
Here are few tips to promote healthy eating for children:
- Children’s eating pattern are totally different than adults .The most important is they have very small tummies so can’t be expected to eat full course meal at one go .They should be offered small amounts of food or snacks frequently throughout the day.
- Young children may need to eat five or six small meals instead of three big ones. It helps to keep your child on a regular eating schedule.
- Too many quick snacks should be avoided, so there is enough time to build up an appetite between meals.
- Offer variety of foods in the forms your child prefers. Kids generally prefer foods with milder flavour. Avoid adding many spices, chili, and excess oil in kid’s food.
- Parents should act as role model in this process as children love to imitate. Regular family meals help a lot here, where kids can watch their parents eating variety of food with lots of interest. And slowly children will also adapt the healthy eating habits.
- Do encourage children to enjoy fruits and vegetables by giving them a variety from an early age. Fruit and veg smoothies are great recipes to start with. Offer finger fruits like slices of apples, banana, strawberries, pears, pineapples and grapes as snacks. Or pack fruits in snack box to school.
- Do ask children to help prepare meals. Not complete cooking but basic cooking like bread sandwiches, fruit salads can be taught to start with. Children will enjoy learning new things and at the same time eating their own cooked dishes.
- Don’t force children to eat more than they want. Do allow children to follow their natural appetites when deciding how much to eat.
- Get kids involved in grocery shopping. Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels. Let them see all the different fruits and vegetables and have them pick out new ones to try.
- Make it fun: present the food as a game, a play-filled experience. Or cut the food into unusual shapes. Pack the school tiffin’s in funny manner or decorates their meals.
If you have any more ideas for promoting healthy habits, please post in comments below.