Sell your Kids on Healthy Eating
Wouldn’t it be great to hear your youngster utter those words? With a bit of effort – or make that a lot of effort- you could be one of the lucky one. The great thing is – it is worth it!
Is it really important for kids to eat their vegetables? Or fruits? Or drink their mil? Don’t they all outgrow most of their bad eating habits anyway? While this is true in many cases, it could just be too late!
We need to make an investment in our kids’ future health while they are young. Take good bones, for example. The nutritional support receives in the preteen and teenage years determine its susceptibility or resilience to fractures in later years. This calls for careful monitoring of both calcium-rich foods as well as exercise to make those bones grow strong and stay strong.
Link an Unpalatable present to a Palatable Future
You probably know by now that exhortations such as “Eat your veggies so that you will be big and strong like Daddy” do not work. Contemporary kids are smart enough to look at a couch potato Daffy and question such a statement ( if your husband is an athlete, that is of course a different story.)
Instead, you can give your children the incentive they need to eat the right foods by linking nutrition to what they want to be when they grow up.
Little Aarav wants to be a pilot when he grows up. He is very firm on this. What can his mother do to leverage this dream for here-and-now causes? Well, she can tell him that an ace pilot needs to have 20-20 vision…which means Harun will need all the carrots and other leafy yellow-green veggies rich in beta carotene he can get right from now onwards.
Kids respond well to such stimuli, since they link up to real-time benefits rather than vague, eventual good health. In the same vein, a serious discussion with one’s kids about how to modern advertising coerces us to buy just about anything can lead to a healthy consensus about junk food.
All A Question of Balance:
Balance is really what healthy eating is all about. It isn’t about totally cutting off certain foods from your child’s diet. of Course, if you can keep him away from sugar, white flour and all things fried in hydrogenated oil the first two years of his life. More power to you.
- Your child needs a balanced diet, not a high-protein one.
- Most children need to be reminded to drink sufficient water.
- Carbohydrates are not a bad word where kids are concerned, since they need all the energy they can get.
Doing your best us good enough
Its difficult to supervise your child’s every meal. Do the best you can and stop feeling guilty. This is also your chance to lead by example – after all young children are great copycats. If they see you downing your glass of milk with enjoyment, they will see added value in the process.
A Little Dressing –Up
Yet another great way of promoting healthy eating habits in your kid is giving the healthy stuff some extra visual appeal.
- Garnish visually uninteresting items with cucumbers, carrot and radish cut with a fancy cutter.
- Serve a zingy curd dip on the side.
- Serve milk in a tall glass with a pretty straw.
- Try giving your family meals ‘color themes – a different color for every day of the week.
Stories Make More Go Down
We’ve all been through it – being fed while we listened to a story. Why not take your story-reading to the table and gently remind your kids to eat while they are listening?
Finally – Just Chill
Don’t get tense. You don’t have to change a child’s food habits in a day. Don’t think you are an awful parent just because your child has slipped in to bad eating habits.
As long as you have the will to give your child the best when it comes to nutritious food, you will get there.