7 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating with Your Child

healthy eating katleen

I am happy to present this guest post about healthy eating by Katleen Brown, a health, beauty and fitness writer. As a parent, I struggle with getting my kids to eat healthy on a regular basis. Personally, I am an advocate of moderation and try to offer my children a varied diet. As my children are getting older, I find that it gets more challenging! Do you have a child with special needs? Check out my article here.

Katleen loves to publish articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, likes to do research to bring awareness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate & inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. 

Healthy nutrition is one of the most important aspects of healthy lifestyle. If you have children, you’re already aware that creating an environment where your kids will make healthy nutritional choices is the most important thing you can do for their health and overall quality of life. This is usually easier said than done. Kids prefer French fries and other unhealthy meals over healthier alternatives. If you’re struggling to get your kids eat healthy meals, you’re at a right place. In this article, we’re going to provide effective tips and tricks to introduce healthy eating habits to your children. Let’s start!

Unhealthy eating habits start in toddlerhood. Researcher Victor Fulgoni analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2001 to 2012 for 4406 children under the age of 2. Findings of his research were presented at the April 2016 academic conference in San Diego that focuses on nutrition, pharmacology, and physiology. Fulgoni discovered that:
• Unhealthy eating habits start earlier than we think, as early as toddler years
• Babies are generally consuming what they should
• At about 9 months, eating habits start getting “weird”, although at this time babies do get vegetables and whole grains like they should, it’s still noticeable they get to eat more cookies, brownies and other sweets than they should
• At the beginning of toddler period, 12 to 14 months, they are introduced to French fries, chips, and soft drinks
• By the very first birthday, average child’s diet is completely imbalanced.

These poor eating habits that develop in toddlerhood only aggravate in childhood and so on. Luckily, you can get your kids eat healthy foods in numerous ways. Keep reading to find out how.

1) Be a good role model

At the end of the day, when you think about it closely you realize it all comes down to you. Your child’s eating habits depend on you and what foods you introduce to them. Most parents complain their kids don’t eat healthy food, but in order to get your children eat those healthy meals, you have to do as well. The very first thing you should do to inspire your child to make healthy diet choices is to eat healthy foods as well and show how amazing they are. This also includes avoiding buying unhealthy and processed foods or keeping them away.

2) Take your kids shopping with you

You probably don’t find this useful as shopping for groceries with kids isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But, if you don’t live near farmer’s market or farms in general, the best way to introduce variety of healthy items to your children is to take them shopping. Ideally, you should do it when you’re not in the hurry so that you have enough time to inform your kids about different fruits, vegetables etc. Instead of letting your kids go around the store, make sure they stick to produce aisle or aisles with other healthy foods. If your kids seem particularly interested in some item, buy it and let them try and don’t assume they won’t like it.

3) Avoid restricting foods and not letting your kids eat certain things can have a negative impact on them and according to experts it can lead to eating disorders later in life. Also, if your children got used to eating unhealthy foods, banning these items immediately isn’t effective way to motivate them to eat healthier foods as they would usually consider new meals
effective way to motivate them to eat healthier foods as they would usually consider new meals on their plates punishment. Ideally, you should introduce variety of healthy foods to your kids and gradually limit intake of unhealthy meals.

4) Keep healthy food at hand

When kids are hungry, they eat what’s available and this is something you can use to your advantage. Keep fruit on a counter and when they feel hungry, they’ll just take a banana or an apple as a snack.

Grab more info here

5) Educate

Instead of labeling foods as good or bad you should strive to educate your kids about different items. For example, instead of saying the broccoli is good, you should explain it’s packed with vitamins and other healthy nutrients that will keep them healthy, good in school, and better in sports. Children are curious and the best way to motivate them to eat healthy foods is to point out what these items are good for.

6) Don’t use food as prize, bribe, or punishment

Using food to reward or punish kids’ behavior is a big mistake because they will start identifying these foods with certain emotions. That way, your children would always assume vegetables mean they did something wrong while French fries would represent some sort of reward.

7) Don’t introduce too many healthy foods

This is where most people make mistakes – they introduce too many healthy items at once. That’s a big change for kids that usually need time to adapt to any sort of change in their lives. Introducing variety of foods to kids is essential for healthy diet, but it’s important to overwhelm them. For instance, add new item to your menu on bi-weekly or monthly basis.

You can also
• Eat together as a family
• Let kids help out in the kitchen
• Don’t become a short-order cook
• Make sure your kids don’t skip meals

Conclusion

Children adopt their eating habits according to foods you present to them. That’s why it’s important to be a good role model and eat the same food you recommend to them. With useful tricks from this article and persistence, your children will make healthier nutrition choices on their own.

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