Children who are significantly overweight are at greater risk of developing long-term health problems like cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems as well as poor self-esteem when they become adults. Good nutrition is the foundation of lifelong health and it begins at a young age. Healthy eating can help stabilize children’s energy and sharpen their minds. However, peer pressure, television commercials and your family’s lifestyle make healthy eating more than a little bit difficult.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps that parents can take to teach their children healthy eating habits. By instilling in them the importance of healthy eating, you can make a huge impact on your children’s relationship with food and help them grow into healthy and confident adults.
Tips to promote healthy eating habits
Children start to develop their eating habits early. At a very young age, they develop their natural preference for foods they enjoy the most. The trick here is to make healthier choices appealing to them. You can ensure a nutritious diet even while allowing your children to enjoy some of their favorite foods. Here are some nutritious tips to help develop healthy eating habits in your children.
- Tip #1. Be a role model. A child’s impulse to imitate is strong thus, it is important for you to act as a role model for your kids. How can you ask your children to eat fruits and vegetables when they see you snacking on potato chips and soda? Let them see you eat healthy foods and keep your portions in check. Avoid obsessing on calorie counts to prevent your children from developing negative associations with food.
- Tip #2. Get kids involved! Children enjoy going to the grocery store and help in shopping. Let them help you choose what goes in their lunchboxes. Ask them to help in preparing dinner. You can turn these activities into impromptu learning sessions and teach them the importance of nutrition and teach some nutritional facts about each food that they see in the store and how to read labels and choose healthier foods.
- Tip #3. Cook meals at home. Save dining out for special occasions. Home cooked meals are healthier for your family. This is because restaurant foods tend to have more fat, sugar and salt which are not healthy for your children in the long run. In addition, having the whole family sitting down for dinner at the same time every night gives children security and comfort.
- Tip #4. Cook healthy! Encourage your child to eat healthy by cooking healthy. As children develop, their nutritional needs also develop requiring the same healthy foods as the adults. Follow the food pyramid and you will never go wrong. Choose lean sources of protein. Replace meat with tofu and include fish such as salmon and tuna in your weekly menu.Persuade your kids to eat fruits and vegetables by making it fun and entertaining. Create a food collage using broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower and squash. Drizzle your masterpiece with Argan oil for a nutritious flavor boost. Top whole grain cereal with fruits like banana, peach, apple or raisins. Add extra vegetables to soups and stews.
Developing healthy eating habits in your children may prove to be a challenge. Start early and follow these tips to help your children grow up healthy and strong.