Cultivating healthy eating habits in children is a major area of worry in parents. Experts in child health have often devised carefully-thought-out strategies to help your child eat properly. They say it is really important because the eating habits you develop as children might contribute to your lifelong eating habits. It is also advisable to take into account the suggestions of a doctor or dietitian while deciding the eating habits of your children. Here is a list of ways you can mold your child into healthy eating.
Parents must first practice healthy eating: In order to inculcate good eating habits in children, parents must first get their act together. Small kids look up to their parents for everything. If your own eating habits are unhealthy, you really can’t blame the kid for their choices.
Stock up good food in the house: Availability is the key in developing healthy eating habits. Always make sure there is a stock of healthy food in the house. It is also important to give a miss on sugary sodas, pastries and chips.
Let the kids choose what to eat: Kids would love the idea of choosing their own food. Encourage them to choose from the available range of healthy options at your home. Care should also be taken to cook something specifically for the kid every time. They should learn to adapt to what is available at the moment.
Make sure they eat breakfast: Breakfast, as you may know, helps to balance the energy levels through the entire day. Make sure the breakfast is a complete meal that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals along with fiber. Developing a good breakfast habit is extremely important for long term health benefits.
Involve them in shopping and cooking: Take kids along when you go for grocery shopping as they would really get excited with different colors and textures. Encourage them to try to out something they find attractive. Asking kids to help out in cooking also would create an extra interest and the results will show as more enthusiasm to eat healthy on the dining table.
Encourage etiquette: Make it a habit to eat in the designated area every time and make sure to sit down while eating. Also try to make eating time a joyful family affair with pleasant conversations. Again, care should be taken to not make these rigid rules. Once in a while, if the child gets bored of it, let him/her try out something new. But always make sure to guide them back to the good practices of healthy eating.
Don’t use food as a bargain tool: Never use food as a reward for doing some unpleasant chore. Also do not deny them their favorite food because of some wrongdoing from their side. These strategies would only help to develop negative associations in children’s minds.