It is important to develop healthy eating habits in kids right from early childhood. Read on to learn how kids get exposed to unhealthy food and how to break unhealthy eating habits in them.
Kids are naturally picky eaters and this nature can be quite frustrating for most parents because they are concerned about their childrenâ€™s eating habits. However, there are legitimate reasons why kids love junk food and hate eating healthy food. So, next time you get irritated and frustrated, try to find which of the reasons explained here match with your childâ€™s situation.
How Do Children Get Exposed to Unhealthy Food?
Have a look at the common reasons why kids hate eating.
1. Parents Find it Hard to Refuse
As a parent you must have gone through many such situations where you could not say no to your child when she asked for fast food or sweet and chocolates. Most often parents do not find it easy to refuse their kidâ€™s interest. However, it is time to break the tradition and offer healthy food to express your love.
2. Fast Food in Moderation is Fine
Many parents think that when children have fast food in moderation, there is no harm. In fact many indulge repeatedly and think that it is occasional. The reason is that, it is very difficult to define moderation. Many parents think that since their children are young, there would be no harm. But in reality, childhood obesity is considered an epidemic and type-2 diabetes is now getting common among children.
3. Schools Provide Unhealthy Food
Schools have tuck shops where snacks are sugary and contain lots of fat. When children are exposed to unhealthy food in school, it becomes hard to stop them from having those. Children are also served with cookies and cupcakes to celebrate someone or the otherâ€™s birthday in school.
4. Readymade Meals are Easy to Make
Parents also find it easy to make their kids have readymade meals because they know they are going to like that. It takes very less time and energy for the moms of today to make readymade pasta or noodles or anything that their kids prefer to have. One of the reasons behind the development of this type of culture, where readymade or fast to cook meals are chosen, is lack of time due to over scheduled and hectic lifestyle.
5. Children are Choosy
Well, this is a reason behind almost all reasons. It is obvious that children will go for tasty and good looking food items. The best way to help them select healthy food items is to cook food at home and make it delicious and tasty keeping in mind the taste of your children.
How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy?
Whatever be the reason, parents would like to know what to do now. So, whether you have an infant just like a clean slate or you want to try to change directions of a grown-up child, here are some tips.
Do not Force Your Child to Eat
When you are going to serve the meal you have cooked, make certain that your child is hungry. For this you can restrict their intake of too much bread or other snacks after school. If they feel hungry few hours before meal, offer them fresh fruits or soup.
Store Healthy Food Items at Home
If you want your child to have only healthy food, make sure you do not store the unhealthy stuff. This will save you from refusing to give your child what she wants. Involve Kids in Cooking
Kids love to eat and serve foods that they prepare. You can engage your child in deeds that are age appropriate for her and the ones she is going to love to do. You can explain the ingredients and their importance while preparing the food.
Have dinner together
Cooking at home is not enough until you sit together and have at least one meal as a family. Children learn from what they watch and when they will see that you enjoy and eat healthy food items, they will automatically switch to the habit of opting for nutritious food.
Do Not force Kids to Finish Particular Food Item
There are certain food items that kids dislike specifically. Everyone has likes and dislikes in particular. So, if your child does not like anything in particular, there is no harm in having a healthy backup as an alternative. Sometimes children start eating the same food seeing other members of the family having that.
Help Your Child Develop the Taste
Many people start liking a food item only when they have tried it more than once and enjoyed it with others as well. Let your child try any new but nutritious food with her friends or others in the family.
Serve the Same Food to Everyone
Children love to eat what elders are eating. You can include your child in your dinner time as soon as she starts eating solid. In fact, if your children can chew you should have the same menu as yours for them no matter whether you are eating at home or in restaurant. Talk to Your child
Talk to your child and explain to her which of the food items are important. Tell her that you love her and you are concerned with her health and well-being. Even if children do not like the change, they will accept it after understanding your point and concern.
Keeping the above tips in mind, you should also take into account the fact that everyone has foods they like and the ones they hate. There are many options when you will look into the matter. It is advisable to be not too strict because your children may rebel.
Give your child the freedom of having healthy choices and also the leverage to select one of her preference. Reward her with a piece of her favourite food item every now and then. Teach your child to have a balance in healthy food and not so healthy ones by explaining the importance of food to her.
Why kids create a fuss while eating? How can parents help kids to develop healthy eating habits? What can parents do to break unhealthy eating habits in kids? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team