Children start developing habits at a very young age. Some fade with time, but others remain till adulthood and become hard to break. One of the most important tasks as a parent is to make sure your children grow up eating well. What your kids eat today will shape their health for years to come. If you want your children to have a healthy and happy future, you have to start teaching them good habits now.
Lead by Example
Children learn by imitating their parents. If you set a good example by making healthy choices during mealtime, it is more likely for them to mimic your food preferences and willingness to try new foods. You cannot binge eat in front of them and make poor choices, and still expect them to follow the rules. If you want your kids to make a change, you have to take the first step and be consistent.
Knowledge is Power
According to research, one in five children don’t know where their food comes from. If kids don’t know what they are eating, how can they make the right choice? Teach your children how real food is grown, harvested and prepared. Educate them about the differences between processed food and natural food. When they know what they are putting into their bodies and how it can harm or benefit them, they will understand the importance of making better food choices.
Make Food a Family Affair
We all know the importance to regularly sit down and have a nice family meal together. But why not get your children involved from step one? Plan the menu with them, take them to the farmer’s market or grocery store, and allow them to help you in the kitchen. By giving them a hands-on experience, they will learn how to appreciate food better and acquire important life skills at the same time.
Clean Out the Pantry
Leave unhealthy choices like potato chips, sodas, and other types of processed food at the grocery store. If you have junk food lying around openly (or hiding in a corner), it will send the wrong message to your children. Instead, stock up on a wide variety of healthy food at home including snacks like fruits, nuts, or yoghurt.
Tip: Use Alpha Juicer to create delicious, healthy snacks such as fresh juices, frozen fruit sorbets, or freeze fruit in yoghurt then puree to create a tasty dessert!
Stick to a Schedule
Keep a regular meal and snack time schedule. This will help discourage your kids from grazing throughout the day, or becoming too hungry in between meals. You don’t want them to compensate by overeating later. Although it’s important to stick to an eating schedule, do not pressure your child into eating if they are not hungry. Most children require three meals and one or two snacks per day.
To avoid food wastage, a lot of parents force their children to finish their food even though they are full. Force-feeding your kids will only make them develop unhealthy overeating habits in the future. Instead of loading up the plate with everything on the dinner table, start with smaller portions. Allow them to serve themselves when they are old enough, and only let them go back for seconds if they are still hungry.
Try, Try Again
Some children can be stubborn and very picky when it comes to food. Don’t be discouraged if your child turns away something new for the first time. It takes time for them to get adjusted to new flavours, smells and textures. Introduce a new food multiple times if you have to, but switch up your recipe to make things interesting. This will allow your child to find out if they really dislike the food or if they are just being picky.
If you’d like to try healthy recipes at home, but not sure where to start, check out our Food That Feeds recipe book! It contains a variety of healthy and easy-to-make recipes that your whole family will enjoy!