Looking to help your kids make healthier food choices? Want to help ensure your child doesn’t have to battle the bulge? By fostering healthy eating habits in your children you’re sure to set them up to make healthy choices that will benefit them throughout their lifetimes.
1. Don’t Develop the Sweet Tooth
There is no rule that you have to serve desert after every meal. And the reality is whatever you serve and call desert you children will accept as such. Instead of sugary baked goods or ice cream, opt for healthier versions of desert. Fresh fruits topped with whipped cream, fruit salads, or even frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate can be served up as healthier alternatives.
2. Portion Control
Don’t overload your child’s plate during meals. Remember, your child’s stomach is like the size of her first. Try using smaller plates and offering smaller servings. If your child wants more, she can certainly have more.
3. Keep Things Colorful
Eat the rainbow. Try to serve a variety of different colored fresh fruits and veggies along with protein and whole grains to give your child lots of variety. If your child doesn’t like a food served, try preparing it a different way. For example, she may not like steamed carrots but may love them raw.
4. Preach Moderation
You don’t have to cut out sugary goods all together in order to promote healthier eating. Teach your children that there are all the time foods, sometimes foods, and special treat foods. Don’t deprive her of special treats, but certainly limit them.
5. Herbs and Spices
Understanding how seasoning works can be a great boon to any nanny or parent who is preparing a meal for children. For example, a plain chicken breast cooking on the grill doesn’t have as much appeal as one treated with a light sprinkling of garlic and Italian seasoning. Lure your child into eating what you prepare with her senses, including the way a food looks, tastes, and smells.
6. Provide Dips
Serve up raw fruits with a yogurt based dip or raw veggies with some salad dressing for dipping. Sometimes all it takes is offering fresh foods with a twist to tempt your child into trying them.
7. Set an Example
Almost everything in your child’s life will depend on your own example. It’s much too easy to rely on the saying, “do as I say, not as I do.” When your actions don’t align with your words it can create confusion and mistrust. By setting an example of eating better for yourself, you are demonstrating by example that a healthy lifestyle is your priority.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean that you have to put your children on a strict diet. In fact, children should never be put on a diet without the direct advice and oversight of their medical doctor. By teaching your child the importance of making healthy food choices and providing her with healthy options, you’ll set her up to have a healthy relationship with food, her body and herself.