Encouraging kids to eat healthy sets them up for nutritional success later in life, as well. Starting at a young age enables her to develop the habits she needs to stay healthy throughout her life. Here are a few fast tips for helping kids to eat healthy and make healthy choices.
Make it a family goal.
When it comes to getting kids to eat healthy, practice what you preach. You can’t expect to impose food restrictions and enforce fruits-and-veggies rules that apply only to certain members of the family. Be the best role model you can be.
Eat together at the table.
Sitting down at the table together is a great way to start. At the family table, you can all share the same healthful foods and set good examples for one another. Offer an array of healthy options to make it easier for your child to pick a nutritious food she loves. And make the meal about spending time together: Be thankful for good food, share stories about the day, and make plans for tomorrow. Your child will associate meals with positive, healthy experiences.
Keep only healthy foods at the house.
When kids have only healthy foods from which to choose, they’re going to learn to eat healthy.
If you absolutely must keep some junk food on hand, buy smaller portions (a snack bag instead of a big bag of potato chips). There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat as long as it is just that — a treat, not a bad habit.
Don’t use food as a bargaining tool.
You want your kids to equate food with nutrition — an enjoyable necessity to properly fuel the body. Using food as a punishment or reward promotes unhealthy attitudes toward eating. Giving treats for good behavior and withholding goodies when kids act up give children the impression that food equals power.
Similarly, try to avoid power struggles involving food. When you force your child to eat her vegetables, you may win the battle, but you also create negative feelings about food. This may lead your child to develop an unhealthy attitude toward food, which could eventually lead to an eating disorder.
Fast food is not good for your family. Packaged and processed foods are full of salt, sugar and preservatives. The healthiest thing you can do for your family is cook. Preparing your own healthful meals helps your child develop an appreciation for the subtle, satisfying flavors of natural food.
Kids love to cook. Give them some healthy meal options to choose for next week’s dinner options. Let them select a recipe, make a list of ingredients and help you shop. Get them involved in the preparation and serving of the meal.
Healthy eating is a habit. Before long, your child will be making healthy food choices without even realizing it!
kids in the kitchen
Cooking with kids: Make pasta
In today’s Daily Dish With Shay Pausa, Shay Pausa is joined by Maria Helm Sinskey and her daughter, Alex, to show us how to make pasta.