Developing healthy eating habits in kids is essential for
the right growth and development. Encouraging kids to eat healthy is possible
if parents make them enjoy what they eat. Read on to find tips for developing
healthy eating habits in kids.
It is not easy to get kids to eat healthy and wholesome food
day after day. Children are nowadays introduced to fast foods with high levels
of salt, sugar and saturated fats from a very early stage itself. This kind of
food is unhealthy and does not meet even the basic nutritional requirements of
children. Since fast food is very tasty children take to it easily and start
demanding more and more of it.
How do you make children eat healthy food? How do you ensure
that your children do not miss out on vital nutrients required for their normal
growth and development? Here are a few things parents and caregivers can do to
ensure that children develop
healthy eating habits.
Make Meal Times Family Times
Forget watching television while serving dinner. Make meal
time family time where your entire family can sit together and eat
together. You can make this time a family event where each of you can
discuss the day’s happenings. This will inculcate a sense of discipline and
children are bound to develop better eating habits and stick to a routine of
having meals at a particular place and time.
Children love color even in food. Hence if you have small
kids at home it may be worthwhile to experiment varieties of foods in different
colors. Children are bound to get tempted and taste food which visually appeals
to them. A simple example would be to offer them a “rainbow” sandwich layered
with vegetables of different colors instead of the plain sandwich.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
It is recommended that at least five servings of fruits
and vegetables are included in the diet of a normal child every day. Hence plan
your meals in such a manner that at least one if not two servings of fruit or
vegetable is included in each of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This is the most important meal of the day even for small
children. It is required to ensure that children have a steady supply of energy
to handle all their morning activities and stay away from snacking. Research
has indicated that adults who have breakfast regularly are less obese as
compared to those who skip it. There are a number of fortified children breakfast
cereals available in the market today which you can consider using.
Set an Example Yourself
If children observe their parents and adults around them
eating healthy foods they are bound to follow suit. Hence parents can set a
good example for children by having 3-4 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables
each day. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also very useful to
keep the body hydrated and flush away harmful toxins.
Often many of us take food easily if it is offered to us in
a different form or texture. For example, instead of offering vegetables in raw
or cooked form to children it can be blended into a soup or a sauce. By serving
same food in different forms you will be able to provide variety to the child
and at the same time identify which form of the food your child likes the best.
Good food habits and healthy eating are very important to
ensure proper growth and development of children. In the long run good eating
habits will keep them away from a whole lot of health issues. Children if
trained to eat healthy from a young age itself will make it a lifetime habit.