Healthy Eating Habits
Kids learn many things from you while growing up. From good manners to how to stay safe when out with friends, children often look to their parents to get cues about life. With that in mind, it’s smart to consciously do things to help your kids adopt healthy eating habits that stay with them throughout their lives.
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Choose Moderation Over Elimination
It’s usually better to coach kids to eat things in moderation rather than cut items out altogether. There are some exceptions, such as if your child’s doctor has said a certain food is off limits for a health reason, but when you show kids that eating well doesn’t mean deprivation, they’re more likely to have a healthy relationship with food.
It’s simple to help your kids eat consistent portion sizes by using special plates that have dedicated sections, or packing food in sealable containers so kids can enjoy it while away from home. Also, don’t threaten to or actually take food away from kids as a form of discipline. Using that method of elimination may make kids feel confused about how to eat well, which undermines all your previous efforts.
Practice What You Teach
Kids will likely feel betrayed if you tell them they’re not allowed to have snacks when there’s an hour or less before dinner, but they see you chowing down while making preparations for the evening meal. As mentioned earlier, kids rely on parents to show them how to act properly. That’s why it’s so important to not just tell kids about good eating habits, but live out those principles yourself.
Keep Healthy Foods Easily Accessible
If you think about the last time you permitted your youngster to get a snack from a convenience store during a road trip or caved to their pleas about getting a meal at a fast food restaurant, there’s a good chance you allowed the less-than-healthy fare because a better option didn’t exist. Prevent that common scenario from happening again by buying insulated bags and using them to store food.
You may even buy a separate lunch bag for each meal, because that makes it easier for a young person to eat appropriate amounts rather than overindulging. By investing in your kid’s lunch boxes, you’re showing him or her you’ve taken necessary steps to eat better whether you’re at home or away.
Let Children Help Cook
You’ll often find kids are more excited about eating healthily if they’ve helped cook or prepare some of the food by spending time in the kitchen with you. In addition to letting them give you assistance, treat these culinary sessions as easy opportunities to discuss things about sanitation, safely using kitchen equipment, and how to determine if foods are fully cooked. When you allow kids to frequently join you in the kitchen, they’ll be able to take active roles in maintaining healthy diets.
Hopefully, it’s now easy to see how you can be such a strong influence while helping young ones eat properly. The earlier you start, the more likely it is that new principles will soon become normal parts of a routine.