If you sit back and ponder, you’ll realize that a lot of your present habits are manifestations of your learnings and exposures as a child. In almost every aspect of your personality, from your social mannerisms to your food preferences, your childhood major roles to play. It’s no surprise they say that good habits are learned best when taught during the early years of childhood.
Today’s supermarkets are stocked with processed foods high on the flavor quotient and low in nutrition. Fast food joints are opening in every street, while the media bombards us with advertisements about them. A lot of these advertisements target small children. This makes it more crucial that we align our kids’ eating habits in the right way, so they make healthier choices for themselves.
How to Get Your Kids to Have Good Eating Habits
Here are five easy and effective ways to inculcate good eating habits in your kids:
1. Eat Together: This is one of the best habits to make mealtime a pleasant experience for you and your kids. Get into the practice of eating your meals on the dining table, as a family rather than allowing your kids to sit in front of the TV while having their food. Too many distractions during mealtime can make your kids focus less on what they are eating and more on the inconsequential things around them. Instead, savoring food together over beautiful conversations can make mealtime a great opportunity to strengthen family ties.
2. Involve Them In The Process: Involving your kids in the process of shopping for food and cooking is a good way to increase their awareness about nutrition and to reduce their resistance to mealtime. Don’t make your weekly trips to the supermarket alone. Take your little ones along and ask them to pick their choice of fruits and veggies from the counters, while you share fun facts about them. Ask them to assist you in the process of cooking by helping with simple tasks like fetching water, measuring, washing vegetables, etc. You’ll soon see your kids beginning to look forward to mealtime.
3. Set A Good Example: Your kids grow up emulating you and your habits. Since you are their first and the greatest source of inspiration, your habits impact their choices in a big way. If you want your kids to pick up good eating habits while you skip meals and gorge on junk food yourself, you’re not going to see fruitful results. Your kids will retort with the, “but, you do so too” argument each time you reprimand them on their bad eating habits. It, thus, becomes very important for you to make healthy food choices and practice good eating habits consciously.
4. Offer Choices: Provide your kids with an array of healthy food choices to pick from instead of forcing them to eat only specific foods. Give them the option of choosing what they’d like to eat (with given limits) before you cook for them. If your kids love candy, avoid banning it from their diet completely, but keep a tab on the amount they are allowed to eat. Restricting the foods your kids like from their diets will only make them crave for the forbidden foods more.
5. Avoid Forcing Food Down: In an attempt to provide your kids with wholesome nutrition, if you force them to finish every bite on their plate, you are unknowingly making them dread mealtime. Ask your kids to serve themselves, depending on how much they want to eat and let them eat their meals at their own pace. Doing this will make them self-sufficient, while also helping them understand the importance of right portion sizes.
Apart from these tips, it also helps to form a strict mealtime (and snack time) routine and stick to it. Doing this will bring about discipline and prevent your kids from grazing pointlessly. If there are certain healthy foods that your kids don’t fancy, don’t fret about it. Continue to introduce those foods in their meals time and again until they acquire a taste for them. Hope these tips help you raise healthy eaters.