If you want to eat healthier food, then you will understand that a few simple lifestyle changes are all that’s required. For your kids, however, it is a completely different story. They may not understand the importance of eating healthily and they also might find it difficult to stick to their new routine. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to try and help them.
Don’t Place Restrictions on Food
When you restrict food, you increase the risk of your child developing an eating disorder. It can also have a negative impact on your child’s overall development. Instead of placing restrictions on food, you need to try and talk about the healthy options that are available. This could include lean meats, low-fat dairy, and even fruit as well. You would be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to their general well-being, and their energy levels as well. If your child is adamant about eating low-quality junk food, then one way for you to get around this would be for you to encourage them to make their own. This doesn’t take long and this way they can see exactly what is going into the treats they are making.
Keep Healthy Food Available
Children will eat whatever is available to them. For this reason, it helps to keep fruit in a bowl on the table. You don’t want to bury it in the cupboard or make it harder to access. Remember that your child can only choose foods that are available in your home, and your actions count for far more than your words. Try and set a good example by eating the fruit yourself, and show them how great it tastes. When you do this, they will follow your example, and this is a fantastic way for you to turn their behavior around.
Foods are not Good or Bad
You should never really try and tell your child that certain foods are good or bad. Let them know that lean protein can help them to be better at sports and it can also help them to be strong as well. Don’t tell them that a fatty steak is bad, however, because all foods are great in moderation and if they want to indulge from time to time then there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Encouraging your child to drink more water is also a brilliant way for you to try and keep them nice and healthy. If your child is always used to pop or fizzy drinks, then this can make it very difficult for them to make the transition. A brilliant way for you to get them started would be for you to try and incorporate flavored water with no sugar into their diet. When you do this, they can then appreciate the flavor of the water and this may even encourage them to make their own. You can easily make your own water bottles up by putting some fruit into the plastic bottles they take to school as well.
Praise Healthier Choices
You need to give your children a proud smile and even praise them when they do choose healthier foods. This is especially the case when they choose fruit, whole grain or even dairy that is low fat. This way they know that they are going to be rewarded when they make a good decision and eventually you will get to the stage where you don’t need to help them. This is a fantastic way for you to get them started because children do tend to work from praise.
When the kids are choosing food that is unhealthy, fatty or even salty, you need to redirect them by suggesting that they go for a healthier option. If they want to have potato chips and dip, ask them to go for a baked tortilla chip instead, and encourage them to use salsa. This will contain way less salt and even fat, not to mention that it will also help you to encourage them in the future to make similar choices. If your child wants to have some candy, then instead, offer them some dipped strawberries and a bit of chocolate sauce. When you do this, you can then satisfy their sweet craving and you can also help them to have a healthier snack. If you are constantly nagging them about the food that they are eating instead of offering them a healthier option, then this won’t be doing them any favors.
This is a contributed post and therefore doesn’t necessarily represent the views and opinions of this blog or its author.
It’s even easier to feed kids healthier foods by keeping the unhealthy ones mostly out of the house. Maybe occasionally feeding the kids something fun and less healthy (like pizza rolls) on a movie night on the weekend. That way they know they can eat a little bit of less healthy foods and that the foods are not forbidden, just not the best for day to day eating.
This also means you don’t have to police all the choices the kids make when they aren’t in your house. I’ve heard of moms who refused to allow their kids to ever have sugar. Which means the kids would have to refuse a treat in another house even though all the other kids could have it. OR…the kid would eat the treat and then feel guilty. OR even…the mom would find out, get upset, and hassle the other mother. C’mon.