With issues like obesity and allergies in kids being a major concern among parents, it is important that you are aware of grooming your kid to take care of himself. Along with this, if you follow a perfect lifestyle that balances your child’s eating habits and health equally, it is great benefit for the entire family.
Your dining table can turn into a war field if your menu has broccoli or spinach in it! Don’t start to pull your hair or shot at your kid to make him eat healthy food. Instead you can follow these healthy tips that can help you persuade your kid to eat well and stay healthy at the same time. Hence it is important that in this growth stage, the child has to be given healthy foods so as to ensure maximum development. In this article, we have compiled a set of 18 health tips to help you inculcate healthy eating for kids.
18 Steps On Healthy Eating Habits For Kids:
Here are the tips to develop healthy eating habits for toddlers and younger children:
1. Choosing Healthy Snacks and Meals:
Well, it’s that simple- cooking a healthy meal and snack may not be as tasty as the unhealthy ones, but there are good chances that the child may gobble it up. This trick is certainly not fool-proof, but the success rates are good. Some examples of healthy food include fruits, dairy foods with less fat, pastas, grain breads, and cereals.
[ Read: Effects Of Eating Junk Foods In Children ]
2. Being a Role Model:
This idea solely relies on the phrase “practice before you preach”. After all, you can’t expect your child to obediently chomp down on veggies for dinner while you are munching on those French fries and burger. Include a salad with a light dressing in your order. Go for the mustard instead of mayonnaise on your dishes. Choose stir-fried dishes and steamed dishes rather than choosing fried dishes. If you start to eat healthy and keep the junk food at bay, your child will follow you and do the same. This concept may sound simple, but works almost every single time.
3. Offering New Foods:
So what if they eat it but don’t say yum? Research suggests that toddlers take 15 tries or more before getting accustomed to a certain food. So don’t give up, keep on giving it to him/her, he/she’ll eventually like it.
4. Mixing Things Up:
One real fact that you need to get right is that the time doesn’t matter. It isn’t a norm to have pancake with juice as a breakfast and a grilled sandwich during lunch. A little here and there won’t do any harm. Give him/her the freedom to have oatmeal during dinner or cheese pinwheels for breakfast, he/she’ll be more than happy to eat it.
5. Family Meals:
Family meals are best way to encourage healthy eating habits for kids. This will help your child to eat healthy foods and get a more positive attitude towards the family. Studies have shown how those who have more family meals tend to eat more grain and whole wheat foods rather than those who don’t. In case the elder ones are busy elsewhere, Sunday brunches might work as a charm as well.
6. Clean Out the Food:
No! This does not indicate that you eat them. Rather, keep them in lesser quantity or better yet, don’t keep them. For it is obvious that the toddler won’t complain of not getting junk if there aren’t some in the house. But keep in mind that it is good to let them eat it occasionally such as a birthday party so that they learn that these foods are to be consumed in moderation.
[ Read: Healthy Habits for Kids ]
7. Watch That Juice and Milk Intake:
If your child drinks more juice and milk than the regular amount that is to be consumed, you may want to take steps and encourage your kid into eating other foods too. Too much of anything is bad, even if it is the healthiest food in the world.
8. Make Healthy Food Choices:
Always remember that the choices that you make while shopping for food is very important to make your kids accept what they are going to eat. Make sure you buy fresh fruits, vegetables, low fat yoghurt, natural peanut butter, whole wheat bread, whole grain crackers and cut out salt loaded snacks from your grocery list. Buy milk instead of sugary stuff like colas and sodas.
9. Pack The Vitamin Alphabets:
Children need all kinds of vitamins such as A, B, C, D, E, K, etc., to grow into a healthy individual. You can find these vitamins available in dairy based foods, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruits. Pack your kids’ lunch using healthy ingredients to make sure that they get their daily dosage of vitamin.
10. Invite Your Kids In The Kitchen:
Offer your kids vegetables and let them peel, grate or slice them; tell them to add few flavors of his choice. When your kids see how the food is prepared, they would be tempted to eat it. When he is making a dish with a vegetable that he don’t usually like, the self-made sense pushes him to eat it.
[ Read: Nutritious Food For Kids ]
11. Add A Dash Of Calcium In Daily Food:
There are many tactics that you can follow while cooking to make sure that your kids get enough calcium every day. You can make a salad with a low fat yogurt as a dressing, add cheddar cheese in omelets, low fat cheese to sandwiches, make mini pizzas with whole wheat dough, and stuff cheese cubes in snacks which needs to be grilled.
12. Impress Your Kids With Dips:
You can make your kids eat strips of fresh fruits and veggies by giving them a flavorful dip each time. Offer a small cup of vanilla yoghurt with apple pieces or serve crisp veggie strips with some hummus. Refrain from adding mayonnaise in the dips and instead, opt for peanut butter or a simple lemon honey vinaigrette.
13. Add Lots Of Fiber:
Kids tend to suffer from constipation every now and then, which can be averted by adding lots of fiber in their diet. When your kids eat a fiber rich diet with enough water, constipation can be prevented. Make sure your kid’s plate of food has fiber of 5 gms or above. Offer foods rich in fiber, such as a half cup of navy beans, baked sweet potato or flakes of bran.
14. Prevent Your Kids From Overeating:
If you are serving a favorite dish of your kid, serve a single portion. Never let your kids eat a bag of chips or a box of ice cream. You can also serve it beforehand in the kitchen and then take it out to the dining area. Pack smaller portion of food in the refrigerator to help you serve the single portion easily to your kids.
15. Make Eating A Fun-Filled Time:
Create interesting shapes with veggies, fruits, low fat cheese slices, breads or tortillas to make your kid’s eating time a fun filled one. Fill long skewer sticks with cottage cheese, low fat cheese, pineapple pieces, apple, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and other fruits and serve with a dip along side. You can also create funny faces using the foods on the kid’s place to let him eat on his own.
16. Never Brand Your Kid As A Picky Eater:
Most parents make the mistake of branding their kid stating that ‘he hates broccoli’ or ‘she hates milk’. Do not commit this mistake as the preferences of your kids tend to change as they grow and they would love to experience new tastes in food. This means they would even begin to love the foods that they did not like during their childhood. Hence branding them as a picky eater would prevent them from trying these foods.
17. Allow Small Treats On A Regular Basis:
When you avoid favorite snacks of your kids like chocolates, fast foods or potato wafers altogether, it can lead to obsession for those foods, binging or even stealing. You can offer a weekly allowance for your kids to visit the canteen or buy their favorite food once in a while to keep them happy and contented.
[ Read: Organic Food For Kids ]
18. Make Breakfast A Compulsory Habit:
Healthy breakfast eating for children is very important. Most kids tend to skip breakfast while they are leaving for school. This is most unhealthy, so make your kids to follow the habit of eating a cereal with milk, fruit with yoghurt or a fruit with a wheat bread toast every morning to stay active and perform better at school. You can develop this habit in your kids if adults also join the kids at this time and eat together.
Following these simple steps may help your kid ace the habit of healthy eating- educating your child about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and letting him indulge once in a while is one of the best ways to keep your kid from developing unhealthy eating habits.
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