Most parents would always go out of their way to make sure that their children would get the best nutrition from the food they prepare. However, getting them to eat is another issue altogether.
The problem gets worse when they get exposed to processed or unhealthy foods that get served in schools and restaurants nowadays. These are usually circumstances that are often difficult for parents to control. Because of that, kids would tend to ask for foods like pasta, chicken nuggets, pizza or macaroni, and cheese, all of which should not include vegetables and have zero nutrition. What’s even worse is that the food that was packed for them ends up getting wasted for not being eaten at all.
For many parents, getting their children to consume their greens would probably take an army to achieve a feat. Nowadays, it is rare to find children who are not fussy eaters. As a result, children who foster this kind of behavior ends up getting prone to diseases when they grow up due to the lack of nutrition.
So, how do parents deal with this kind of situation? By adopting a supportive, healthy eating environment that should begin at home.
Below are ten great advice from health experts to parents on how to get their children to eat foods that are good for their health.
- Avoid stocking your pantry with junk or processed food
This means unhealthy snacks like potato chips, chocolates, cookies, cakes, candies, and other sugary treats should be cleaned out of your pantry. It’s perfectly okay to let your child spoil them with treats once in a while.
Children usually would eat whatever food is available in the fridge or pantry. So instead, let them get used to seeing healthy options instead like placing a bowl of assorted fruits on the table.
- Plan your kids’ meals
Scheduling your children’s meals can be daunting and somewhat tiring. So, a better way to do this is to start with two or three days in a week. Meals do not necessarily have to be fancy. The important thing is that they should be a well-balanced portion. A balanced diet would include whole grains or rice, fruits or a piece of vegetable, protein like cheese, meat, or beans.
- Be creative with how to prepare your kids’ meals
Children can get fed up when their daily menu becomes too repetitive. If it’s difficult for your kid to eat their vegetables, you can try and spice it up with different dips or condiments that still borders on healthy. It is important also to take note that not all children are quite as open to your experiments. So, introduce the food to them slowly and let them have a taste before including it in their menu.
- Try involving your kids during the meal preps
Getting your kids involved in the cooking and preparation can actually make them more interested in eating what they have made. Additionally, you can take them with you to the grocery store and allow them to pick the ingredients for you. For older kids, they can help you slice the vegetables for the salad. If your child is not fond of fruits, you can recreate them into delicious pastries and let your kid help you bake them too.
- Avoid rewarding their good deeds with food
Compensating your child’s good behavior with fast food or unhealthy snacks will only foster weight problems in the future. The best way to reward your kid for his or her good deeds can be activities that involve doing stuff that is physical but fun. Some examples would be going to the park or playing catch in the yard, or even trips to the zoo.
- Be firm when it comes disciplining them of food choices but not over controlling
It’s always good to give your children some discipline when it comes to choosing the food they want to eat. However, overdoing it and constantly arguing with them about what food they are supposed to eat can make them rebel more and refuse to eat the healthy stuff instead. The ideal way to settle this is by letting them grade each food on their plate. The items that your children like less should not be offered all the time. In this way, your child gets involved in making decisions since dining should be considered a family matter.
- Be a good example to your kids when it comes to eating
It’s common knowledge that children get their first-hand influence from their parents. So when it comes to eating right, parents should convey a positive example to their children. Doing so enables your children to adopt the habit of eating properly and healthily. Make sure also to show your children to eat at proper meal times and incorporate snacking into a healthy idea for them.
- Allow your kids to indulge in treats
When allowing your kids for occasional treats, instill the idea that these luxuries should do not become a frequent habit. Doing so would condition their minds that although treats are not good for them, they are not entirely forbidden. It would set their minds to know what foods to eat more and what to eat less.
- Make sure to prioritize breakfast meal times
Breakfast, if possible, should be one meal time in the day for the whole family to participate. Moreover, breakfast should be packed with fiber. You can try whipping up some whole grain waffles or pancake or look for cereals that are high in fiber.
- Schedule frequent pediatrician appointments
Of course, consulting your child’s pediatrician is one certain way to go for their health journey. Pediatricians are individuals who can help you determine whether your child needs to lose weight or gain it. They can also make recommendations on not just food options that are kid-friendly, but vitamins as well should your child need it.
Getting your child to start early with healthy food choices will not only make you happy but help protect them in their lifetime.
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