Making a child eat healthy is definitely a daunting task
Many parents find it difficult to teach or develop healthy eating habits to their children. Why is this happening? Is developing healthy eating habits in children tough? Childhood obesity is on the rise and we have the responsibility of raising a healthy child. To develop healthy eating habits, cook healthy foods, provide access to healthy pantry and healthy refrigerator, encourage family dinner. Take a look at the food pyramid to know more about healthy eating habits.
Making a child eat healthy is definitely a daunting task that many parents especially mothers face; do you agree with me? Developing healthy eating habits is very important as this helps them in maintaining healthy weight. When you as a parent help your child develop healthy eating habits this will lead to a healthy lifestyle. See how important developing healthy eating habits are.
A small statistics on obesity and overweight children will help you understand how important it is for a parent to develop healthy eating habits to their child. According to the recent research by World Health Organization (WHO), 300 million people are obese worldwide and 750 million people are overweight. You can calculate your waist to hip ratio to know how much fat has been accumulated by visiting right health.
Obese Children (%)
Egypt, Chile, Peru, Mexico
Aren’t these figures alarming? I’m sure these figures remind us of the importance of healthy eating. Let us look at how to develop healthy eating habits to our child.
1. Don’t bribe your child to eat more:
I know various mothers who bribe their child to eat more as they have a feeling that their child has not eaten enough. Stop this at once. Make your child determine whether he/she wants to eat more or whether their tummy is full. Give importance to their hunger cues.
2. Access to wide variety of healthy foods:
Stop dumping chips and various unhealthy foods in your pantry and refrigerator. Store lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, breads, grains, and various other healthy foods.
If you want your child to eat healthy, you must develop healthy eating habits. If you are eating junk foods, you really cannot expect your child to eat healthy. This implies “Practice what you preach.” Don’t deprive them of occasional cookie or chips.
4. Try to eat dinner together as a family:
In the mornings, it is always hectic and each one of us start at different times; therefore, make it a habit that the entire family eats dinner together. If you cannot practice this daily, at least during the weekends ensure the whole family eats together. When the child sees its dad, mom, and siblings eat healthy, the child will automatically start eating healthy.
5. Cook healthy meal:
Mothers are in-charge of the kitchen and therefore, you decide on what has to be cooked. Ensure you cook only healthy food.
When you go grocery shopping, take your child with you. Allow your child to pick healthy foods for snacks. When they themselves have picked the food, they are more likely to eat it. You must guide them in picking the right snack, which is healthy.
7. Allow children to cook healthy foods:
You can teach them to prepare salads or fruit punches that doesn’t involve using gas or other electrical appliances. When they themselves cook, they love eating them. When I allow my daughter to do fruit salad on her own, she enjoys it better. I’m sure she’s a little messy but this is how children will learn.
8. Teach the child to enjoy food:
When the child eats on its own, they are definitely messy; however, this is how they are going to learn how to eat food. Allow them to be messy or play with their food. Teach them how to appreciate the taste, aroma and appearance of the food. Tell them how important it is to chew the food and eat.
9. Don’t brand good and bad foods:
Avoid telling them that a particular food is bad or good. Teach them about the nutritive value of each food. Guide them in choosing food that has higher nutritive value. When you brand some foods as bad and some as good, children tend to go for the food items that are bad when you are not around.
10. Avoid making food as a punishment or reward:
I’ve noticed that some parents tell their kids that if they don’t behave well, they will give them a particular food that they don’t like. Similarly, when a child does something good they will encourage them to do so by giving sweets or chocolates. In the first instance of punishment, children tend to get more aversion to that particular food even if it is going to be a healthy choice. In the second instance of reward, they will tend to feel that sweets and chocolates are healthy and will ask you to give more.