If you go and ask your parents how their parenting experience was, they’ll probably remark that getting you to eat healthily was less than easy. This is a common problem that many parents face, especially new ones. Food is not just about nourishment and vitamins though; it can also be a source of comfort, learning, and celebration. While it can often be challenging to persuade your kids to stay away from junk food, you can make healthy food more attractive by taking inspiration from these tips:
- Choices between healthy options: No one likes being forced to do anything, especially kids. In their early growth stages, toddlers and kids learn about independence and want to try things independently. While the choice between apple slices with peanut butter and stuffed dates might not seem like much, it gives the children the chance to exercise their autonomy. Notice that we’ve mentioned giving a choice between two healthy snack options – this is key to getting your children to eat healthy.
- Making their plates: Building on the earlier point, kids like to exercise some independence. You can provide them with the chance to do this by letting them make their plates. Try serving exciting and healthy food options to them.
- Gateway Foods: Children are often picky eaters, and one way to combat this is by introducing them to different foods early on. If they don’t feel too enthused to try some food, pair it with something they like. For example, if they don’t like celery sticks, pair them with their favorite condiment first to get them to try it.
- Smart Snacks: Children use up their energy quickly and require snacks to get through the day. To not ruin their appetite for meals, you should keep the serving portion of snacks smaller. Additionally, it would help if you have fixed snacking times that are not too close to mealtimes.
- Include your kids in cooking: Kids are more likely to eat something they have helped make. By including your kids in the cooking process, you provide them with the opportunity to learn and end up spending more time with them too!
While these are only a few tips, getting your kids to eat healthily requires consistent efforts from you. The main idea is not to force anything on your children and make eating healthy food exciting for them!