Establishing healthy eating habits is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Parents don’t have to wait until their children reach a certain age before teaching them to eat better, healthier options. It’s imperative for healthy eating to begin at a young age. Why? Because, healthy eating doesn’t only promote healthy physical bodies and improve energy levels. It also helps to boost school performance, improve mood, as well as increase their overall sense of well-being.
So, how do you establish healthy eating habits in your child and incorporate nutritious foods into their diet? Here are some tips that you might find handy.
Start with the right mindset
Healthy eating is something that kids should learn while they’re young, and this is the kind of mindset that all parents should have. There’s no such thing as “too early” in terms of incorporating nutritious foods into your child’s diet. As soon as they start eating solid foods, you can already add carrots, mashed potatoes, bananas, and soft veggies into their meals. They might find the taste and texture strange at first, but by consistently incorporating these food items, you can help them to develop a liking for these foods.
Incorporate healthy items into their snacks
Too much snacking may impact your child’s appetite when it’s time for lunch or dinner. However, snacks can be a good opportunity to squeeze in nutritious foods There’s no need to entirely ban junk foods from their diet. You can curb foods that are high in sugar and then add healthier options like apples and oranges.
Tag them along when you do food shopping
Instill the habit of choosing healthy food items by tagging your kids along when you do grocery shopping. Show them how you fill the cart with nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t pick up a lot of processed and junk foods. Also, as you run through your grocery list, try to squeeze in conversations of how important a healthy diet is for both their growth and development.
Allow them to help out with the cooking
Regardless of their age, you can definitely use a child’s extra hands in the kitchen. They may not be able to use a knife just yet for peeling and chopping, but they can be assigned simple tasks such as arranging the sliced veggies for the salad or putting some bread in a tray. They’d be more excited to eat healthy meals if they helped with the preparation, so go ahead and seek their help. Not only is this a perfect opportunity to bond, but this could also ignite their passion for cooking.
Eat meals as a family
Young kids are more compelled to stay longer at the dining table if mealtimes are both fun and enjoyable. They’ll enjoy their food more when eating with the family is filled with pleasant and positive conversations. Have meals as a family as often as possible. Make use of this time to bond with your kids and with all family members by sharing fun and happy anecdotes such as what great things happened to each of you during your day. Make this a daily habit so that your little one will eventually associate eating with a happy and positive experience.
Be sure that their meals outside the home are also healthy and well-balanced
You can only have so much control over your child’s meal when they’re outside of your home. Because you can’t really keep them from eating junk food or stuff that they want to eat when at school, the best thing that you can do is to still ensure that their meals are well-balanced. Incorporate fruits and healthier items into their lunch box. Encourage them to choose nutritious foods even when dining out at restaurants.
Be a good role model
If you’re teaching your little one to stay away from unhealthy food options, then they shouldn’t see you chugging down a bottle of soda during dinner or finishing a bag of chips for a snack. Your attitude towards food will influence their eating habits, so be sure to set a good example for your kids.
A lot of children are very picky, especially when their meals include healthy food items. Spare yourself the stress and establish healthy eating habits from the beginning with the help of these tips!
Here at Imagine Nation Learning Center, we partner with parents to raise both happy and healthy kids. Send your little one to a school that cares about their overall well-being. Please feel free to give us a call for more information.