Every habit begins in family and eating healthy food is one of them. There is never a precise moment to teach your child to eat healthy. It is important to understand that the nutritional education received in the family and the habits adopted in childhood will determine the food behavior in adulthood.
Therefore, it is essential that parents teach their little ones that food is, in fact, a fuel for the body. Here are some approaches that parents can take to develop healthy eating habits in their children:
As you are looking for a variety of ways to persuade your child to eat healthily, adopt yourself the principles that you are trying to pass on. If your little one sees you eating pre-cooked food, chips, cakes and other unhealthy products, he will surely follow your example. Make an effort to impose this lifestyle on the entire family where the menu is largely made up of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and plenty of water.
Any meal of vegetables will be appealing to your child if you give it an interesting form: arrange the tomatoes, carrot slices and olives in original shapes to resemble with smiling faces or animals or cut whole grain bread into heart or star shape.
Stories are another effective way to convince your child to eat healthily. Invent a small fairy tale about the miraculous powers that people catch when eating fruits and vegetables. One example is to tell your child that his favorite cartoon character, let’s say Superman, has his supernatural vision because he eats a lot of carrots.
A great way to teach him good eating habits is to involve him in the process of purchasing and selecting food. As your little one probably loves the trips to the supermarket, ask him to help you with the shopping list. Have him choose between products and explain why the x product is better than the y option.
When it comes to meal preparation, this can be a challenging activity for parents but bear in mind that it has many benefits as it lays the foundations of some learning abilities and attitudes such as interests, curiosity, initiative, activity persistence or creativity.
Natural fruit juices can replace whole fruit, but take care to prepare them in the home without adding extra sugar. Most children love the taste of juices from combined vegetables and fruits, so you can make various daily appetizing choices. Control the amount of juice your child drinks every day because this type of drink provides a consistent amount of calories. Never replace water with juice and always use fresh fruit and vegetables when you prepare it.
Healthy and creative snacks are wonderful for the harmonious development of children and help them “educate” their taste buds in the right direction. Try to cut pieces of celery in funny shapes, then boil them in a steam bath and glaze them with peanut butter. Draw his attention to the new fruits and vegetables with some decorative tricks: a slice of pineapple or mango, decorated with a multicolored umbrella, will quickly turn into a major attraction for your child. Once he tastes the new food, he will do it the second time.
These are the biggest temptation for children because they are tasty, they are advertised, and are often used by parents as a reward. No wonder children want to give up food for their benefit. In order to avoid to give them too many sweets, set rules. One example can be that he can eat an ice cream or his favorite chocolate every Saturday. Also, explain the situations in which exceptions can be made. For instance when he goes to a birthday party he is allowed to eat sweets.
Food should not be used as a reward or incentive because this way children will eat to get a benefit instead of eating because they are hungry and stop when they are full. The temptation to promise desert only if he finishes the vegetables / meat seems almost on the lips of all the parents but the truth is that when we feed children, we often apply strategies that are counterproductive. The unhealthy but good-tasting food is in balance with the healthy food that gets to be regarded as punishment, and the child becomes obviously less interested in the latter. Rewards are usually sweet and therefore it is more appealing to choose cookies, candy or other similar snacks full of sugar and empty calories. A bond is created between the ingestion of certain foods and the sense of well-being; the relationship between the child and the food changes over time and he gets consoled by eating. The idea is that children should eat when they are hungry and not for a certain purpose.
Although it is the latest trend to spend your time eating in a fast food restaurant on a regular basis, do not make a habit of it. In the long term it is not guaranteed that he will choose healthy food. An option for all these fast alternatives can be homemade pizza, pasta, burgers, etc. Bear in mind that you are the role model, you set the example.
We have become more sedentary since television and technology invite us to sit down and enjoy them instead of going outside and spend time outdoors. Regular exercise is important for children because it keeps them fit and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Cycling, skating, playing football, swimming, etc. are some activities that you can try with your child.
Healthy eating habits are formed over time. To transmit them to your child requires patience, imagination and optimism. But it is worth your family to have a healthy lifestyle and feel good together when you all eat together!
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