To be honest, creating good eating habit for kids is just not easy. Sometimes, your kid tends to pick the kind of food he/she wants and only fancy junk food instead really drive you nut. There are ways to prevent unhealthy eating habit for kids and you can impart good and healthy eating habits in their early childhood. A child’s health is very much depend on healthy diet to develop and grow.
I will be sharing with you 9 ways to develop good eating habits for kids. I hope these steps will help your child to eat better. It is not difficult to implement but it takes time to help your children to develop good eating habits.
Good eating habits for kids
1. Eating on schedule
It is important to plan ahead for your children meal few days earlier and it does not have to be fancy but simple and nutritious. Plan for what to give them 3 meals a day and at least two snacks in between. Their food intake has to be a balanced with carbohydrate (rice, noodles, pasta or bread), protein (lean meat, bean or cheese), fruits and vegetables. You can cook their favorite soup ahead of time, freeze it and when comes to dinner time, heat it and serve it with rice or noodles with stir-fried vegetables.
Do not forget about liquid intake, besides water, you can give them soup or fruit juice to make sure they stay hydrated.
Try to give more variety of food, and sometimes the more creative the meal is, the greater chances they will likely to finish them all.
We have to set up a routine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Right time to do the right thing will eventually teach our kids to be more discipline and to avoid unpredictable eating times.
2. “Family-style” eating habits
It is important to create” family-style” eating atmosphere which means everybody including the children are sitting on a dinning table and eat together. Let the children have the kind of food you prepared for the family, not to have separate food for your kids. Usually children will mimic parents’ eating habits and soon they will appreciate the food that you prepared for the whole family.
3. Introduce new food slowly
Children will likely to resist if you ask them eat food that they have never tried before. Sometimes they will just turn their head away without even try them. It is OK to let them see the food and encourage them to try for few times. Be patience, they will likely to accept them when the time is right.
Never said, “come, eat your broccoli”, it is not going to work.
4. Cut back on junk
Introduce junk food too early in their early childhood will forbid them from eating healthy food. As junk food are tastier, higher sugar and salt content, make them less fancy on healthy food. If they are exposed to less junk food, your child have no choice but to take whatever food that is served. Just make sure their healthy diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grain and dairy products.
Sometimes, it is also good to let them have a treat occasionally. Candy, chocolate, ice cream can be given as a treat when they behave good. As long as you balance between smart food choices and physical activities, your children’s health will be just fine.
5. Make a tasty dip and yummy pasta source
Most children refuse to eat green vegetable, you can serve vegetable in a tasty dip. Make use of ketchup, hummus, salsa and yogurt based dressing to make a tasty dip and it goes well with whole meal bread.
You may also make use of the pasta source and incorporate different vegetables. Blend them up and cook with the meat, serve with rice or pasta. Children will love it too.
6. Involve your child in the food preparation
If your child become involved in choosing and preparing the food in the kitchen, the chances of him/her finishing the food is high. This will create his/her interest in the food that he/she chooses and prepare. Try a simple dish like preparing for salads, allow them to put all ingredients in a bowl, add dressing and mix around with a spoon.
7. Take dairy product
Cow’s milk is a good source of calcium and some fortified with vitamin D. They are important nutrients for children to build strong bones and vitamin D is to let the body absorb calcium better. Dairy products can be cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt.
Soy milk is a good source of plant-based protein. If your child has allergy reaction to cow’s milk protein, soy milk is another best substitute. If your child does not fancy soy milk, you can have other plant-based milk such as almond milk, oat milk, rice milk.
You can use dairy product to make oatmeal, mashed potatoes and other sauces etc.
8. Be a role model
If you constantly have good and healthy diet at home, your kids will likely to learn to do the same as well. Be a role model.
9. Prepare snack on-the-go
You may prepare some healthy snack on the go such as carrot, yogurt, overnight oat, cheese and cut fruit in the fridge. You may give them to your kids whenever they are hungry and they will be less inclined to ask for fast food.
Well, there are always ways to go around kid’s unhealthy eating habits and it is never too late to improve the situation. Child’s healthy diet is the first priority during the early stage of childhood and it is critical for their healthy growth and physical /mental development.
The above mentioned ways can be your guidelines to help you to help your child eat better and eat healthier. As a parent, our job is to prepare and serve them balanced and healthy meals. Your kids are responsible for eating them. It takes time to develop the good eating habits for kids and it shall begin when they are still small.