Making sure that our kids have a healthy diet can not only reduce health and behaviour problems now, but it will set them up for a healthier future. While today’s lifestyle of fast food, aggressive advertising and constant exposure to temptations doesn’t help, good food habits still start at home and here are just few things you can do to help your kids eat healthier.
Be a role model
Your children learn from watching and copying you. A recent study by Ray Morgan research found that only 2% of Australians aged 14 and over eat the recommended 5 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit daily. Then is it a surprise than our children’s diets are less than ideal?
Don’t force it, but offer healthy food again and again
It can take children up to 15 tries of a certain food before they become familiar with it and start liking it, so don’t be discouraged by initial rejection. Recently I started making green smoothies every morning and all of my children will request to try what I’ve made. So far none of them found my green smoothies appealing enough to take more than a couple of sips, but even a couple of sips are better than nothing and I’m still hoping that they’ll come to the party soon.
Only have healthy food at home
It’s too hard to convince a child to eat a healthy meal prepared with love if they’re surrounded by temptations in the form of colourful packets, sweets, chips and party snacks. Only keep healthy food at home and your child will have to choose from what is available.
Talk about how different foods affect their body
My children love learning about why we eat certain foods. It fascinates them that an apple keeps them healthier, cheese makes their bones stronger and grains give them energy so that they can play longer. They often start a guessing game at the table, which makes me wish that I knew a whole lot more about food, so that I can tell them about it. You can sometimes even see me doing research between meals.
Get children involved in cooking
Kids in the kitchen are messy and will slow you down, but cooking together can be fun and the children will usually have more appreciation for a meal that they’ve helped prepare.
Sometimes you might find yourself too busy to do the shopping and opt for a take-away dinner instead. Or you might get so tired of your toddler’s winging that you give in to her request of a treat. Don’t be discouraged by temporary setbacks, they happen to all of us. Remind yourself why you’re doing it and return to your healthy diet efforts as soon as you can. Build your healthy lifestyle one tiny step at a time and after a while you will see that all those steps add up.
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