Many parents feel guilty about their children’s bad eating habits, but they don’t know the right way to help the kids change that and get them to eat healthier foods on a daily basis. Getting kids to eat healthy food is manageable, but getting them to like it – that is a whole other universe. This is especially the case in these modern times when all kinds of sugary foods are available everywhere you go and those are usually children’s favorite foods. It can be quite challenging to make your child actually choose a healthy food over a sugary, junk food on their own, without anyone forcing it upon them. The key is to make healthy choices appealing. Here are some tips that can be useful in getting your child to eat more veggies and less candy.
Teach your children to listen to their bodies. This means explaining how different types of food affect how they are feeling physically and emotionally. After eating candy, children get hyperactive for a while, and then they experience a sudden drop of energy. On the other hand, when they eat healthy wholesome foods, their energy levels are maintained and their mood is stable. Other than that, eating candy can make their stomachs ache while veggies will never make them sick. Explaining these facts to your children may go a long way, or it can at least be the first step towards a change in their eating habits.
Don’t force their choices. Forcing children to eat only certain kinds of food and not letting them eat what they want can make them feel frustrated. Instead, fill your pantry and fridge with a wide variety of healthy foods that can serve as a solid replacement of those sugary treats. That way, you can let your child choose whatever he or she wants from the stock, and you will know that the choice will be healthy.
Introduce veggies into your children’s diet. If your children haven’t tried a certain vegetable, introduce it slowly in small amounts and let them get used to it before it becomes a big part of their nutrition. Another thing that might help you with getting children to like vegetables is to arrange them in an interesting way (different shapes and forms, e.g. smiley face), or let them help you in arranging them as they will probably want to eat what they made.
Let your children choose their own snacks. If you stocked your fridge and pantry with healthy foods, you have nothing to worry about. Put the groceries (fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, milk, pure fruit juice…) in a place where your children can reach them and take what they like when they feel up for a snack. By making their own decisions they will gain a sense of freedom and they will get use to making the right choices on their own very quickly.
Let your children learn from their own mistakes. Don’t ban sweets and junk food completely, as that only creates cravings and overindulgence when they have the chance to eat them. Let them have a piece of cake at a birthday party and don’t patronize them about it. However, you do want to explain to them that overindulgence in junk food might be the reason of their nausea or stomach ache. Explaining it, you will help your children better understand how their bodies react to food and hopefully choose better foods.
There’s nothing like homemade meals. Eating homemade meals will help your child learn the importance of eating right, especially when they see you as an example. If you are eating right and feeling good, your children will want to do and feel the same. Also, to keep things interesting, you should introduce new types of healthy meals often, but keep making the old ones so you don’t confuse your children too much.
Finally, showing your children how fruits in different combinations can often be tastier and more satisfying than candy by making fruit salads and smoothies might help you a lot in making your children make better dietary choices.