When it comes to nutrition, most of the time we put most of our energy and focus on us and can sometimes forget about others in the family, especially when it comes to the kids. However, not only will getting our kids on a healthier track when it comes to eating, help them out with their overall health, but it will also help make your job easier when it comes to making food for the family. I know sometimes kids can make it hard with their crazy schedules, and not to mention how picky they can be when it comes to food. Here are a few tips to try and get your kids to embrace eating healthier foods. These will help make not only your life better, but theirs as well.
Have Regular Family Meals
One of the first things that having a family meal will do is develop a sense of regularity. Now I know that trying to find a time where everyone can sit down and eat a meal together can be extremely tough. This doesn’t have to be something that has to be done every night, but the more frequently you can do it the better. Kids tend to work best when they have a schedule and know what is going to happen when. Family meals will also make kids more likely to eat foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains as opposed to eating some of the more unhealthy foods. This is because by having family meals it gives you the ability to introduce your kids to new food options that might be normal for you with your diet, but are something that are new to them. Also, having them see you eating that food will help encourage them to at least give it a try.
Serve a Variety of Healthy Foods and Snacks
As I mentioned earlier, kids can be notorious for being picky eaters, but sometimes that reason can fall back on us. What I mean by this is that sometimes we can get so caught up in the routines of our kids that we just keep giving them the same foods that we know they like, whether they are healthy or not, and we don’t make them try other foods. One easy way to do this and introduce them to new foods in the process, is to give them a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks. A way to introduce them to these new foods is by doing what I mentioned earlier, and give them new foods to try when everyone is seated and eating together. Another easy way to introduce them to new foods is by providing them with some healthy options when it comes to snacking. Most of the time we find that kids will eat basically whatever they can get their hands on, and that’s where we come into play. By keeping healthy options for foods and snacks around the house, this will help encourage them to try some of those foods. Some basic tips for doing this include: integrating fruits and vegetables into their daily routines, serving them leaner meats and proteins, making healthy snacks easily available to them, choosing more whole-grain options, and limiting things such as fast foods and sugary drinks.
Be a Role Model
Kids look up to us with just about everything that we do, even when it comes to eating. This is one of the easiest ways for us to try and get our kids to eat healthier foods. Most of the time kids are going to eat the foods that they typically see us eating. For example, if they see us eating fast food every day for dinner, then they won’t think twice about going to get fast food to eat. Meanwhile, if they see us cooking at home and choosing those healthier options instead of going and getting that fast food it will lead them to see that as normal. Another way we can do this is also by teaching our kids portion control. This starts with them seeing us portion out our food instead of just piling food up on our plates. Then going and portioning out their food on their plate instead of just letting them go and fill their plate full of food. This will help get them in the habit of consciously thinking about how much food they put on their plate.
Avoid Battles Over Food
As we all know, kids can tend to throw a fit if we don’t allow them to get what they want. This can be especially true when it comes to food, which makes conflicts over food more common. However, this is one of the times we don’t want to try and pick a fight with our kids over what they are going to eat. Doing this will tend to discourage them from then trying that food. While we are there to help control the foods that our kids eat, ultimately our kids should be able to decide what foods they want to eat from what is served and whether they are hungry or full. Some tips to try and avoid conflicts when it comes to eating healthier foods include: try and establish a predictable schedule of meals and snacks (preferably healthy ones), don’t force kids to clean their plate, and try to not bribe or reward your kids with foods such as desserts.
Involve Kids in the Process
Kids love being included in the decision making process, especially when it’s something that they can take part in as well. So next time when you are trying to decide what to make for dinner one night, include them in that decision process. This is a great way to also help talk them through making healthier choices when it comes to certain foods. Also with including them in the decision making process, it will also help introduce them to the process of making that food as well. I know this is something that can be frustrating and elongate the process of making the food, but in all reality it’s something that is benefiting the both of you. Not only will it allow y’all to spend some quality time together, but it will also help them to begin learning how to cook.
These 5 simple steps will help begin to encourage your kids to develop healthier eating habits. Now I’m not saying that they can’t go out and enjoy all of those tasty foods that kids love to eat, but beginning to introduce healthier foods into their diet while they are young will help set them up for success later in life. It will teach them ways that they can incorporate healthy foods in, while also giving them the benefits that we receive when we eat healthy foods. Not to mention, this will also help us when it comes to planning meals for our family and will help eliminate the need for us to cook several different meals every night.
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