We all know that healthy eating has many benefits for kids and adults of all ages. However, we live in a time when childhood obesity is at an all-time high in the USA. The easy way to counter this development is by encouraging a healthy lifestyle with lots of good food and activities.
Kids can be notoriously fussy eaters, so it is essential to develop good habits at a young age. With that in mind, these tips to promote healthy eating habits should get you off to a good start.
What Is a Healthy Diet?
You have probably heard the terms “balanced diet” and “healthy diet” everywhere, but what exactly do they mean?
The simple answer to this is a diet that contains all the necessary nutrients the body needs to develop, grow, and remain healthy. And to be clear, they will not get these in sufficient amounts from processed food and foods high in sugar. Therefore, you want to aim for a daily diet that includes:
- Protein—fish, lean meat, poultry, and eggs
- Fruits—fresh fruit has many health benefits
- Vegetables—variety is the key here
- Grains—whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, quinoa, and brown rice
- Dairy—milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy drinks
- Water—water keeps your little one hydrated
Be a Role Model
Being a role model is essential if you are trying to develop good habits in your kids. The little ones will constantly be watching and copying you. So if you say that chocolate is bad, and then they see you eating a chocolate bar, it will only leave them confused.
Therefore, it is vital that you practice what you preach whenever the kids are around.
Make Feeding Time Colorful
A great way to get kids interested in different food groups is to experiment with different colors and textures. Doing this at an early stage will get your kids more interested in trying different foods. Obviously, this won’t always be interested in what you have to offer, so remember to be patient. You can always try again another day and mix different foods together, such as potato and carrot mash.
Empower Your Little Ones
You should never make the dinner table a war zone. Get your kiddies involved in decision making and small preparation tasks from an early age. Talk to them about making healthy food choices and give them options about what dishes you are planning to cook. Having an open and honest dialogue from an early age will increase your child’s awareness of healthy eating while also making your job a little easier.
Kids can be extremely fickle with their food choices and the things they enjoy doing. However, they usually benefit from having routines and structures in place, so try to make sure that you get into healthy habits as a family, such as family meal times after school. During meal times, don’t try to control the whole process with an iron fist. If your kid isn’t in the mood for a big meal or is claiming that they are full, then don’t force them to eat more.