Children can be some of the pickiest eaters you will ever encounter. This pickiness seems to only be reserved for healthy foods, however. Children will chow down on unhealthy snack foods and processed foods happily, but these are unhealthy eating habits you don’t want them developing. There are a few steps you can take that will help your kids to form healthy eating habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.
Set An Example
One thing that is true in every family throughout the world is that your children look to you, the parents, to be their role model. Many of their habits will look similar to yours because your children will emulate your own habits. One important step towards helping your children to form better eating habits is to show them healthy eating habits in action. This can be accomplished by displaying your own healthy eating habits so that your children will subconsciously adopt your eating habits as their own.
Stock Up On Healthy Snacks
Children are full of energy. To continue to operate on such a high level of activity, children need to snack often. While many people associate snacking with being an unhealthy habit, it’s really only unhealthy if you reach for unhealthy foods. To turn your children’s snacking in a more healthy direction, limit the types of snack foods you keep in your home. Refrain from purchasing snack foods with high amounts of processed sugar, salt, and oil. Instead, stock up on healthy snack options. Dried fruits, vegetables with dip, whole oat cereal bars, and dark chocolate bars are all healthy options that are low in refined sugars, sodium, and fat. Snacking on healthy food while they’re young will help your children to develop a craving for these same healthy snacks as they grow into adulthood, ultimately shaping their snacking habits in a healthy direction for the rest of their lives.
Don’t Be A Mealtime Dictator
For decades, it’s been a common parental privilege to cook a specific set of foods every meal and dictate to children that they eat whatever you cook for them. While this is an understandable feeding style to adopt, taking into consideration the money spent on the food and the time spent cooking it, this position will ultimately cause your children to develop unhealthy eating habits. Being a mealtime dictator will subconsciously cause your children to be unable to recognize when they’re hungry or full. A more healthy approach to managing mealtime pickiness is to give your children a limited number of options. When a child is offered a limited amount of meal selections, it forces them to internally examine their cravings and how full they are or how hungry they are. This, in turn, strengthens their ability to notice when they’re hungry or full, reducing their chances of developing an eating disorder.
Involve Them In The Meal Planning
You should take full advantage of your children’s thirst for knowledge by teaching them how to develop a healthy meal plan. This can begin with something as simple as sitting them down and asking them what they’d like to have for dinner for the rest of the week. Once they tell you what they’d like to eat, write out a list of ingredients required to cook the meals and take them grocery shopping with you. Involving your children in the meal planning process shows them the process required to put a meal on their plate. This will teach them an appreciation for your effort to prepare it in addition to teaching them the value of preparing a meal from scratch rather than relying on take-out meals or frozen meals, both of which are commonly seen in unhealthy eating habits.
Introduce Them To Smoothies
While plain water is boring for children, green vegetables are an absolute villain. Fighting with children to drink water and eat green vegetables is a war that many parents don’t want to wage. Luckily, there’s a clever way that you can ensure your child gets plenty of both, in addition to other healthy foods that will sweeten the deal. A smoothie is a great way to mask the unpleasant taste of green vegetables while introducing a healthy dose of water. Smoothies can be crafted in a variety of different ways with various healthy ingredients that will act as sweeteners and natural flavor enhancers so that your children will develop a fondness for smoothies and implement them into their diet as they grow older.