A healthy diet is essential for people from all walks of life, and if we start our children out right, it will be so much easier in the long run. Also, as our children grow older and become more independent, it will be so much harder to teach them about healthy eating. So, it is of utmost importance that we instill healthy eating habits in our children at a young age. The following simple tips will help you do just that for your children:
Set an example
Children love to mimic mom and dad. And when it comes to diet, they tend to follow what their parents do. Eat well-balanced meals and your children are likely to follow suit and this will carry on into their adulthood.
Plan meals together
There is nothing children love more than cuddling up with their mom or dad with a good book. Why not pour through a cookbook that is filled with healthy recipes and pick out a new recipe together to make once a week? If that’s just not doable, then every 2 weeks – whatever works best for your family. This should be fun, not stressful.
Involve your children in the preparation of meals
Children love working alongside their mothers and fathers, why not allow your child to be your little helper in the kitchen? Using a strong and durable step stool such as the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper Stool, little ones can safely reach the sink where they can wash fruits and vegetables, or countertops where they can measure and mix ingredients together. Make sure to announce to everyone at the table that your child helped cook the meal. That will make your child feel so proud and so much more likely to eat it and especially if it’s from a recipe that you picked out together.
Eat together as a family
Eating together as a family is so important and sadly, more and more families are abandoning this wonderful, time-honored tradition. Not just for healthful eating habits, studies have shown that children who come from homes where meals are not eaten together as a family, are more likely to make poor choices in other areas of their lives. They are more apt to smoke, drink or experiment with drugs than those who sit down for dinner with their families.
Eating together as a family is a time for connecting and sharing your days with one another. When children share dinner time with their families, it provides them with the feeling of belonging and being accepted. They just won’t get that if dinner consists of a quick, greasy meal from the local fast food joint. Research shows that more fruits and vegetables are consumed by families that eat together.
Turn off the television
When people eat in front of the television, they become unaware of just what they are eating and how much of it. And even if the whole family is together, it’s not quality time if everyone is tuned into the tv, instead of one another.
Positive communication with their families helps foster positive relationships that will help children and parents talk through tough issues when they arise.
Indulge now and then
Like all things in life, it’s important to have a balance. If you completely deprive your kids of certain foods, they most likely will have even more of a desire for it as most of us always want what we can’t have. By allowing them to indulge once in a while, they will be less likely to over-indulge when they are older and away from you.
Bonnie Lim is the founder of A Kid Place. Check out their blog at blog.akidplace.com as well as their online store at www.akidplace.com.
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