As kids get older parents often feel the push and pull for control over their offspring. An ongoing battle for many families is eating balanced meals and making sure kids get proper nutrition.
Once children hit the tween stage of life [the ages of 9-12, respectively], their pursuit for independence from mum and dad may creep into keeping proper eating habits. Helping your tween make healthy food choices will give them the basics for forming and keeping proper eating habits long past their tween years.
1. Healthy doesn’t mean tasteless
Tweens and even parents are often misled by believing that eating healthy means losing out on great taste. It’s important to teach tweens that simply because something is good for them does not mean that they will sacrifice taste or have to go without their favourite foods.
Employ new receipes for foods that your tween finds boring. Use spices and a variety of cooking options in order to pull out the best flavours. Teaching your tween to be creative in their food and recipe choices helps foster a love of cooking.
2. No more skipped meals
Tweens often lead lifestyles as busy as we do, it’s important to teach them that skipping meals is one of the fastest ways to make poor food choices. By skipping meals, tweens are forced to grab whatever is available when hunger strikes. Rather than reach for something unhealthy like sugary sweets or drinks, engage them in planning individual meals and snacks as well as family snacks. Discuss the need for having healthy snacks on hand in order to avoid other unhealthy options and provide them with healthy snack options that they can take with them while they’re out.
3. Indulge in moderation
The one thing that tweens won’t like hearing is that their favourite foods and treats are completely off limits. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you or they have to swear off favourite indulgences. Turn your family’s desire for sweets and treats into an opportunity in teaching moderation.
Choose smaller portion sizes over the whole bag of biscuits or crisps. Take away meals and sweets should not replace healthy foods. Allow your tween to be involved choosing appropriate portions and when to indulge in the sweet stuff.
4. Be the role model you are
Your tween will learn best from your own behaviour. Demonstrate restraint on going overboard with unhealthy foods. Create a meal plan for the family and get the family involved. Avoid dieting for the sake of losing weight.
Tween girls are especially prone to developing an unhealthy body image between the ages of 9 and 12. Start conversations about weighty issues delicately with an emphasis on how healthy foods will help shed weight naturally.
For the long run
By placing these ideas into your tween’s lifestyle, you’ll not only foster good eating habits in your tween; you’ll set forth the basics for the entire family to learn to eat healthy together for a lifetime.