Good parents are always concerned about their children’s growth and development, and this is especially true when it comes to their health. Parents understand that they can have an impact on their children’s health by providing good healthy meals for them. However, not every child is ready to jump on that bandwagon—as every parent of a picky eater knows! However, here are some things that you can do to help ease your children into eating healthier:
Starts with Parents
One of the most important lessons to learn is that teaching children to eat well starts with mom and dad. When children see their parent do something, they are most likely to mimic that behavior. If a child sees a parent eat hamburgers every day, then the child will want to do the same. However, if the child sees the parents eat—and be excited about eating—vegetables, then they will mimic that as well. In this case, eating habits are what is called “learned behaviors” so make sure to be their example first and foremost when it comes to what you, your child, and your whole family eats.
Start Them Young
It would be great if parents fed their children healthy food from day one, but that is not always the case. Children learn to love soda, candy and unhealthy foods such as hotdogs and hamburgers when they are young. Although these items will most likely be introduced to your child at some point, don’t make it their first exposure to food. If you have a baby who is about to start eating solids, try exposing them to fruits and vegetables. Some foods that your new eater will most likely love are steamed broccoli (after it has cooled down), grapes (make sure to cut them in half or in quarters), and bananas. When you help your child to build healthy eating habits from the start, you’re setting a foundation for the rest of their lives.
Kids love games, so why not make healthy eating a family game. Of course, “hunting” is not referring to going out into the woods to catch your own meat. No, this is more of a scavenger hunt. You’re your children pick out a healthy recipe that they like or that they want to try. Then, take them to the grocery store and have them try and find every ingredient that you might not already have at home. This can be done with teams if both parents are in on the shopping trip as well. Later, you can help your child to make the recipe and serve it for a meal that the whole family can enjoy.
One idea for a healthy recipe for you to make a game out of would be a nice delicious vegan sloppy joe. Instead of meat, it uses lentils. It also requires tons of ingredients, which will make your scavenger hunt more fun. Instead of using buns, though, you should try using flat bread or pocket pits, like those that the Klosterman Baking Company has.
Enough is Enough
It is important that parents help kids recognize when they have eaten enough. Parents sometimes forget that kids do not have to eat as much as grownups. Parents should fill up a plate with important food groups, but portions need to be relatively small. Allow kids to stop eating when they feel full. They can eat leftovers later on as a snack or save the rest for the next day’s lunch.
For the best results habits should be taught while your children are young. Hopefully, these ideas help you to guide your children in the right direction.