Do you ever feel like you need to arm yourself before you sit down at the dinner table with your kids? Every night you are getting into a battle of wits and wills with stubborn kiddo who claims to hate everything you put on their plate. Meanwhile, a week ago you watched them take a bite out of a tube of chapstick.
Is it going to be this way for their entire childhood – their entire lives? Will they be nibbling on cosmetics in the college dining hall? Will they bring a date home and serve them a fast food kids meal?
Healthy eating habits can be hard to develop, but it’s not impossible. The biggest key to encouraging kids to eat healthy foods and form healthy habits is to use their curiosity and budding social skills to your advantage. Read on to learn three ways to encourage your child to eat healthy at home!
The idea of bringing your kids along to the grocery store might make you groan. Even so, it’s a great way to get kids involved in making healthy choices. Kids who feel involved and invested in the process of planning meals and snacks quickly build positive associations related to mealtimes.
The produce section is a great place to start a conversation about the health benefits of delicious fruits and vegetables. Stay away from moralizing about food, however. Instead of speaking of food in terms of “healthy” and “junk,” emphasize what is healthy and good about the kinds of foods you’d like to see them eating.
“Beans are healthy because they have lots of fiber that helps your tummy work its best. Chicken is healthy because it’s full of protein that helps your muscles grow!”
Little kids love to help, and there is always an appropriate task for them to do in the kitchen! Preparing home-cooked meals with your little ones is another way to get them involved and invested in what goes on their plate.
After all, if they help cook food for tonight’s dinner, they’re far more likely to want to eat it – even if it’s green! You can click here to learn more about cooking home-cooked meals with your kids.
Not only will this lead to healthy eating for kids, but they will grow up knowing their way around a kitchen!
You know that your kids are always watching and listening. The same is true when you sit down for a meal. Be aware of the eyes and ears that are on you at the dinner table, and use meals as teachable moments.
That means avoiding diet talk and refraining from commenting on the amount of food on anyone’s plate. Model eating a variety of different foods and talk about the ones you like and why! The conversation is a great way to help kids learn more about their own developing palates!
Healthy Eating Habits, Together!
Young children are always watching and always learning. To help them form healthy eating habits, it’s important to always be teaching and modeling those habits yourself. Once your kids feel included, you’ll be hearing “Pass the broccoli, please!” in no time!
Until you get there, however… maybe hide the chapstick!
Did this post tickle your tastebuds and leave you wanting more? Read on for more posts about health and fitness that are sure to hit the spot!