What we consume has a major impact on our health and well-being, which is why eating a well-balanced diet is so important. However, convincing your kids to eat their veggies or to try new things can be a constant battle. If you want to encourage your kids to develop healthy eating habits, take a look at these top tips now:
Start from a Young Age
When kids eat healthily from a young age, it’s easier to maintain this approach as they get older. Establishing healthy eating patterns from the time your children are toddlers onwards will ensure they get the nutrients they need as they grow up. Additionally, it can be easier to encourage youngsters to try new things than it is to persuade a five- or six-year-old to try a new meal.
Focus on Balance
Every parent wants their kids to eat healthily but don’t get too hung up on particular foods or specific meals. If your kid refuses to eat broccoli, try other vegetables instead of turning dinnertime into a battle over a few florets! Similarly, allowing your kids to have treats in moderation is a good way of teaching them the importance of balance in their diet.
Add Healthy Ingredients to Favorite Meals
There are many ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into meals without your kids knowing about it. If your child loves pasta in tomato sauce, for example, learn how to make manicotti shells and add some extra veggies, such as red pepper or onions, to your pasta sauce to make the dish a little healthier. Similarly, diced or grated vegetables can be added to lasagnas, pies, couscous, and stews without your kids turning their noses up.
Let Your Kids Help in the Kitchen
Youngsters are more likely to try new foods or eat healthy when they have a hand in preparing the dish. Let your child choose from a pre-selected list of meals and then get them involved in the preparation process. Not only are you teaching them important life skills, but you’re also giving them an extra incentive to clear their plate at dinnertime.
Make Homemade Versions of Fast Food
Fast food is usually high in calories, saturated fats, and salt, which means it’s not a great choice for your family on a regular basis. However, you can make healthier versions of your favorite takeout foods at home any time you like. From homemade pizza with a super-thin crust, light sauce, and veggie toppings to a turkey burger with chunky sweet potato fries, it’s surprisingly easy to put a healthy spin on classic fast-food dishes.
Becoming a Healthier Family
Your kids will look to you as their role model, so you’ll need to practice what you preach if you want your kids to eat healthily. When you take the time to teach kids about nutrition, emphasize the importance of balance and variation, and cook together, you’ll get to spend more quality time with your kids and ensure that they’re developing healthy eating habits too.