One of the most important steps you can take to get your kids to eat healthy – and ensure that their nutrition is top notch – is to create an environment where they can make good nutritional choices.
You need to lead your kids by your example and foster a supportive environment. You and your family need to develop a positive relationship between yourselves and healthy eating.
Below are 5 tips you can try to get your kids to eat healthy food and form smarter nutritional habits as it is not good enough for them to eat healthy once or twice. Good nutrition needs to be a constant thing.
1. Avoid placing restrictions on food
Restricting certain foods will increase the risk of your child developing some kind of eating disorder later in life such as anorexia or bulimia. It could also have a negative effect on development and growth. Instead of simply banning the foods, you can talk to them about the nutritional options available to them. You can do this by encouraging them to choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean meats while avoiding junk food.
2. Keep healthy food at hand
Children will often eat whatever is available so if you keep fruit in a bowl that’s easily accessible to them, they are more likely to choose a fruit. Your child can only choose what you buy which means you need to buy healthy foods for them. You can set an example by having an apple as a snack. Your actions will guide them far more than if you just tell them what to do.
3. Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad”
Rather associate foods with something your child cares about like doing well at school or getting good at a sport. Ensure they know that calcium will give them strength for sports and that eating a healthy breakfast will allow them to concentrate at school so that they know making these well-thought-out nutrition choices will help them achieve their ultimate goals.
4. Praise healthy choices
Let your child know that you are proud of them for choosing a healthy snack. It will make them feel much better about their choice. Maybe their friends will start healthy too.
5. Don’t nag about unhealthy choices
If your child chooses something unhealthy, simply redirect them to a healthier option. Better yet, keep alternatives which taste like they could be unhealthy – but are actually healthy – at home so that when a junk food craving hits, they know where to go!