Are your kids hooked on junk food? Are they constantly asking for sweets, chips, and fries? You have to change that immediately! It’s no secret that you are what you eat. So, the healthier your kids eat, especially in the first years of their lives as they grow and develop, the healthier they will be as adults too.
We get it, it’s hard as a parent to compete with peer pressure and TV commercials for junk food that make your kids crave for unhealthy snacks. Yet, don’t worry, we are going to share with you a few strategies to encourage healthy eating in child care.
Be a Role Model
It’s no secret that kids see their parents as role models. Especially in the first years of their lives when they have no idea what to guide after. So, like it or not, if your kids see you eating unhealthy snacks, they are most likely going to ask for the same food.
How to instill healthy eating in children? Start by having healthy eating habits yourself. If your kids don’t see junk food in the fridge or the “secret drawer” with sweets and snacks, they will eventually copy your eating habits as well. So, make sure you constantly tell your kids how healthy fruits and vegetables are and why you choose to eat them instead of eating junk food.
Also, if you really can’t resist that cake, because we all have our guilty pleasures and there is no need to feel bad about it, make sure that you eat it after your kids have gone to bed to avoid them seeing you.
Install a Routine of Regular Mealtimes
Are you familiar with your kids asking for snacks late at night? Don’t worry, you are not the only parent dealing with this challenge. Some do it to prolong the time before they have to go to bed and some do it simply because they have a big appetite for snacking. Yet, just like it is for adults, eating late in the night before going to bed is going to hurt their tummy and disturb their sleep because of the process of digestion.
So, like it or not, you may have to say “no” to that cravings late in the night. Yet, don’t worry, it does not mean that you need to make your kids starve. It means that you need to come up with a strategy to avoid having them getting hungry just before bed. So, what you have to do is to install a routine of regular mealtimes.
From making sure your kids have their breakfast to have energy throughout the entire morning to scheduling when they will have their lunch and especially dinner, but never later than 7 pm. Also, you can schedule a few healthy snacks between your kids’ meals to make sure they get all the nutrients and energy they need for a full day of play.
Cook and Eat at Home
It’s really difficult to juggle between your 9-to-5 job and a full-time job as a parent. We absolutely get that. However, if you want to be that parent that succeeds in teaching healthy eating habits to children, you need to find that necessary time to cook at home for your kids.
For example, if you work during the weekdays, you can dedicate the weekends to cooking and preparing snacks for the entire week. Box each meal and place it in the fridge and you will have healthy food to serve your kids for an entire week.
You can still take your kids to eat out too, from times to times. However, avoid taking them to fast-food restaurants but rather to those restaurants where you can find healthy meals on the menu.
Get Your Kids Involved
Kids love getting involved in everything their parents do. It is a great way for them to spend time with you and feel helpful. So, getting your kids involved in shopping for groceries, cooking, and preparing the dinner table is a great strategy to nurture healthy eating habits in kids.
It is a great way to teach them about each food, how to cook, and what vitamins and nutrients they can get from eating healthy.
Prepare healthy snacks
Banning junk food outright simply won’t work. You know how kids’ minds work, especially when they are really young. The more you ban them to do something, the more tempted they feel to do it behind your back. So, banning junk snacks isn’t a strategy that you should rely on.
Instead, however, you should cooperate with your kids on this one by letting them feel like it’s their choice to eat healthily. Fill your fridge and that “secret” sweets drawer we’ve been talking about with healthy snacks from fruits to nuts and dry fruits.
There are many ways in which you can help your kids replace junk food with healthy snacks. do your kids love fries? Yeah, they taste good and all, but all that oil and carbs aren’t really healthy for your kids. So, for example, you can cut sweet potatoes in the shape of fries and bake them in the oven. We guarantee that your kids will forget about normal fries within seconds.
Discourage meals in front of the TV
We get it, eating in front of the TV seems like the best way to relax after a busy day. Yet, you should know that it is a horrible habit for your tummy and your child’s tummy as well. Watching TV while eating can have many side effects. And, we aren’t just talking about the risk of cutting yourself when cutting the meal while your attention is fully focused on the screen.
Distracted eating can lead to hurried eating and the inability to detect the feeling of a full stomach which leads to overeating. So, not only that your kids are predisposed to weight gain, but they might also experience stomachaches because of eating too fast or too much.
Nurturing healthy eating habits in kids should be a top priority for any parent. Healthy eating can help them maintain a healthy weight, avoid different health conditions, and sharpen their minds. using these strategies, you can teach your little bundles of joy why and how to eat healthy for a lifetime.