Is your child only want to eat fries, nuggets, chips, and chicken? Is your kid doesn’t want to eat homemade foods? Are you worried about your kid’s health? Then you are not alone; many parents worry about what their children eat and don’t eat. Feeding your child nutritious and healthy food doesn’t have to be frustrating or boring.
Consider the below-given tips to avoid the struggle to feed healthier food to your kid. But before that, let’s discuss the benefits of eating healthier.
Benefits of Healthy Eating
Switching to a healthy diet has several benefits, such as:
- It has a profound effect on your child’s overall health
- Help them to maintain a healthy weight
- Stabilize their moods & sharpen their minds
- It also affects your child’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing
- It helps prevent depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.
- Lowers the risk of suicide.
Strategies to help your kids to eat healthy foods
With these simple tips and tricks, you can get your kids to eat right without creating any hustle and bustle.
- Focus on kids’ overall diet rather than specific foods. Encourage your kids to eat more natural and homemade food and limit the intake of processed & packaged foods.
- Allowing your child to make their plate is another way to exercise their independence and get them more interested in trying new dishes. It may take some time, but if the kids have the freedom to choose, then they will be more willing to add healthy foods to their plates.
- Involve your kids while cooking. Kids enjoy the most when they are allowed to involve in something; dressing the cooked meal or laying the table gives them pride. They will be more than happy to eat a dish on which their tiny hands have worked.
- Please don’t force it. Never force your child to finish the whole plate; you should respect your child’s appetite.
- Lead by example. Parents’ eating behavior influences children the most, so try to be a role model by eating healthy yourself.
- Do not comment on your kid’s eating habits. If your kid is not eating healthy food properly, do not comment or scold them. You have done your work by serving wholesome food to your kid. Now it’s their responsibility to eat the served food. If they are not eating, then behave neutrally.
- Make one meal for the whole family. When the kids see that they don’t have many options, they will eat the served food.
- Introduce new food slowly; kids are considered to be new-food-phobic by nature. They take some time to get used to new foods. You need to be patient.
- Reduce junk intake. You need to understand that not your kids are born with hatred towards broccoli and other vegetables. They have started loving junk food over time. You need to have fewer junk foods in your house, forcing your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
- Get creative with your meal. Most healthy foods don’t look good, which is why kids are not interested in eating them. Hence, you should decorate the plate of food creatively. You can garnish the plate in the shape of their favorite cartoon character and not something that intimidates them.
- Different drinks also contain calories, so you must carefully check what your child is drinking. Soda and other sweetened beverages add extra calories to your kid’s meal. You should replace them with water, juice, and milk.
- By limiting TV & computer time, you can avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity.
How do you introduce healthy foods to picky eaters?
It is not that difficult to introduce healthy foods to picky eaters. You can offer bite-sized portions of new foods during meal time. It is advisable to avoid pressuring children to “clean their plate,” which hampers their natural hunger cues. You should praise your kids when trying new foods and refrain from using dessert as a reward. You need to be very patient as it may take up to 12-15 trials for any fresh food to be accepted.
Limit sugar intake and refined carbs in your child’s diet
A high-sugar diet often leads to obesity, and too many sugary foods can lead to tooth decay. Foods that are high in added sugar also tend to be high in calories and low in nutrition. A few examples of added sugar foods are soda, cookies, cake, candy, frozen desserts, and some fruit drinks. So, if you are trying to feed your kid healthy food, you need to cut these foods out from your kids’ life.
See Also: Best Organic Baby Food
How to Cut Down On Sugar?
You can follow these tips to cut down on sugar:
- It is advisable not to cut sweets entirely from your kid’s life. Instead, replace them with healthier alternatives.
- Give the healthy food a creative modification
- Replace the sugary drink with water, juice, and milk
- Make popsicles and frozen treats at home
- Find healthier alternatives to junk food
Eating Out With Kids
You cannot force your child to eat healthy and homemade food daily. If your child is acting stubborn to go out for dinner, then you should keep certain things in mind, such as:
- Skip adding fries to their meal
- Consider the portion size
- Always order the kid’s meal with some substitution
- Order vegetables or chicken rather than a big plate of macaroni
Know the Difference between Good and Bad Fats
While creating a meal for your kid, you must be aware of Good and Bad Fats. Good fats are essential for the overall growth of the child. It boosts their concentration power and improves their mood. A few healthy fats are nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Bad fats increase the disease risk. Hence it would be best to minimize the consumption of unhealthy fats such as stick margarine, some fried & processed foods, baked goods, and pastries.
As a parent, you must remember that your child’s eating habits won’t change overnight. You need to take small steps every day to promote healthy eating habits in your kid.
How do I motivate my child to eat healthily?
To motivate your child to eat healthily, you must create a meal schedule and stick to it strictly. Creatively garnish the healthy food so that your kid becomes more inclined to eat them. Limit their unhealthy food intake, and do not forget to praise them for their achievements.
What do you do when your child refuses to eat healthily?
If your child refuses to eat healthily, involve them in the cooking process; take your kid grocery shopping to encourage healthy eating. Decorate the food in a fun way for your child to eat, and be kind and praise them.
How do I teach my child nutrition?
You can teach your kid about nutrition in several ways, such as playing games like healthy foods bingo and the veggie game or discussing nutrition with bilingual photo food cards.
See Also: Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle: Top 6 Tips to Get Started