Making your kids eat healthy food can sometimes be an extremely difficult task. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of making them eat healthy food, teach them to like it and choose it without anybody forcing them.
Once you achieve that, you’ve won one of the battles for your child’s long-term overall health, and here are some tips and trick to help you.
Set a good example
We all know how children love imitating our behavior and copying us. It’s the same with what we eat. So, if you’re having burger and fries for lunch, don’t expect your child to eat greens and fresh fruit without complaining or resisting it. Set a good example by making healthy choices yourself and do it with a smile, so that they know it’s nothing to fear or avoid, but rather something that can make them as happy as you are when you eat a bowl of fresh vegetable salad with some grilled salmon.
Avoid banning food
As soon as you tell your child something is forbidden or off limits, that something will instantly become the only thing they want, and they’ll do what they can to get it. So, instead of putting restrictions on certain foods, which can actually lead to several eating disorders later in life, try saying positive things about the healthier and more nutritional options. For example, they might appreciate the fact that the protein from turkey or calcium from their dairy product could boost their strength when playing sport, or that the antioxidants from fresh fruit or vegetables can make their skin and hair look nice and shiny. Another way to approach this issue is to simply get rid of all the cookies and potato chips and load your fridge and pantry with a nice assortment of healthy food, so that your child has several choices, all of them acceptable.
Be creative with food
Children can sometimes say that they don’t like something, but the problem could be that they haven’t been exposed to something. They might need to try something more than once to realize they actually do like it. What you can do to help is to create various meals with the same ingredients and see which combination your child likes best. Also, the way you present the food can play a significant role in how your child reacts to it. For instance, if the greens on your kid’s plate look like a funny alien, they will probably be more prone to eating it. Shape their fruit and veggies into animals, trees and flowers, or even cartoon characters, making the meals fun and enjoyable for your child. Furthermore, if you allow your little one to participate in the meal preparation, you’ll be able to teach them why certain food groups are good for them. Not only will your child become more enthusiastic about healthy food, but you’ll get to spend some quality time together.
Store fresh food properly
Having fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables at hand at all times is one of the key ways to get your child to like them. The wonderful colors and smells can be incredibly appealing, which is exactly the effect you want to achieve. And since it isn’t always possible to visit your local farmers’ market every day, it’s important that you have a good refrigerator, as well as a freezer, where you can store your food in adequate containers so that it remains fresh for longer. Consider investing in the high-quality Bosch french door refrigerator, with adjustable shelves and the fast freeze option, which allows you to freeze big amounts of food fast enough to lock all the freshness and flavor of your favorite food.
Praise your child wisely
Never reward your child with unhealthy treats for eating healthy. What they will learn from that is that healthy food is a chore, something undesirable they have to endure in order to get the ‘good stuff’. Instead, praise them when they make a smart choice of the food they eat. It can be something as subtle as a smile every time you notice they’ve chosen an apple or fresh strawberries over processed sweets or anything else that’s less than healthy. You can point out how proud you are of them for being mature enough to know what’s good for them and opting for that, or even reward them with a trip to the playground or a bike ride to their favorite park.
The habits your child forms often start with you, so make sure they’re good habits. It might take some effort and time, but being a parent means you should do whatever it takes to raise a smart and healthy child. So, if you do your best, so will your child.
By Tracey Clayton
who is passionate about fashion and healthy living. Tracey is a mom of three girls.